Friday, April 9, 2010

Very Personal Update ...

The blog posts that have been coming out this week were written in advance, as this was a week of preparation for an art show.

However, this has become another sort of week.

And it's time to put words to what's happening.

'Tis time, to break this silence.

Something big, no, huge ... is happening in my life, and our family. Some people know, and others do not ... and others have heard bits and pieces, and may have been forming their own conclusions.

This, being a blog, is not the place for me to go into deep details ... but this, being a place where I do connect with others, is a place to share what I can, while honoring others involved.

This is a challenge, the biggest challenge, to this marriage. And it's by my doing. I make no excuses, justifications, or rationalizations -- there's just what IS. While I've not *done* anything ... my heart has become connected to another, in a way that brings me joy, and yet which brings great pain to my husband, to our children, and to those who know and love us. Yes, I feel deep love for another man. I have carried this a long while, denying it to myself ... and very recently, just this week, spoke out the truth ... the truth about what's happening to me, and about what has been painful in our marriage. I tried, with everything in me, to wait until after our daughter, Micaela's wedding next month. But I am not duplicious, and it was killing me ... if I had withheld any longer, it would've done physical harm.

Don't get me wrong -- this marriage has been magnificent ... it's all everyone has seen. But, there have also been deep places of pain ... in which both of us have felt very stuck. Hear me here: this is NOT about any failing on Mark's part ... anyone who knows Mark, even remotely, knows what an amazing man he is. I know NO one who knows him, who does not love and admire him. And that very much includes me.

Now, I know all the typical scenarios of how to paint "this" ... trust me, I spent years advising and counseling others in "how to deal with this." I know the normal course of action, and I know what others expect this to look like. We are getting all manner of advice, from people who are in a paradigm that we no longer live in. It is appreciated, knowing the intent behind it ... but it simply does not fit who we are any longer.

In case no one has noticed, this family simply does not do "normal". And, quite frankly, we are thrilled to be out of the confines of "normal." Without exception. We have been, together, walking out a path of normality-alteration. Everything, but only everything, that we formerly thought/knew/believed has been radically altered.

So, it would be a mistake for anyone to assume that the way we go from here, will in any way resemble normalcy.

This is day 5 of The Big Deal. Under normal circumstances, any other husband would've done the "tough love" thing. I "should" be kicked out, the locks "should" be changed ... the children "should" be protected from me. There "should" be yelling, and fighting, and defending, and accusations, and all manner of shaming and condemning.

There is none of that. Yes, there is pain -- immense pain. Yes, there was/is shock. Yes, there is uncertainty.

BUT -- whether anyone can possibly believe it or not, there is tremendous LOVE happening here, in this household. Mark sees me, deeply. He understands why this happened ... he does not blame me (and neither is HE to blame -- this is NOT about any sort of "inadequacy" on Mark's part!). This is not about "right/wrong" for us -- we are out of that paradigm. This is about "what works/what doesn't work."

Mark is tapping into a deep Source of Love, that is beyond comprehension ... this cannot be fathomed with the mind. This is not logical. This is not conventional. And it's absolutely undeniable. He wants me to stay, even while we are in limbo, about how this will play out, in the tangibles. He refuses to allow me to be shamed, condemned or even spoken-against, by anyone. He has made it clear -- if anyone wants to get to me, they have to go through him first. This is his doing ... this cannot be manipulated, and I lack that power, that ability. I don't do manipulation anymore ... it's not who I am, who I have become.

I have not asked for this ... I was prepared to leave. He gives me this, this total acceptance, love, and even protection, out of this reservoir of Love. Yes, he's in pain ... yes, I'm in pain, yes, the children are in pain ... but we're ALL seeing Something operating here ... Something Huger than all of this ... Something transformational ... Something that is simplifying life into the bare essential, of Love.

A love that excludes no one ... a love that includes all. ALL. A love that bypasses labels, and symbols, and concepts, and even understanding. A Love that is having It's way with us.

I recognize that, coming from me, from the one who has likely now lost all credibility with anyone who's reading this ... that this sounds uber-absurd. Ultimate rationalization. Selfish justification. I get that. I'm willing to let that be. What others think of me is really none of my business ... and I'd rather be loathed for who I am, than loved for who I am not.

Mark, and the children, and I ... are astonishingly coming to the place where we are not only accepting of what is, but are seeing the good in what is happening (each one in their own way, in their own timing). Even if no one else on this planet sees it, accepts it, or gets it (really, we've kind of gotten used to that ...!). No one here can deny the love we see unfolding ... and we are TRUSTing that the outcome of this will be good for all. ALL. We are walking this out together, one day at a time, trusting as we go, loving as we go, being enlarged by this Love as we go.

Mark was just here, as I was typing this out ... and he wants me to let everyone know that if anyone doubts where *he* is on this, how *he* sees this, and is experiencing this, that you can contact him directly ... his email is mbrehm@cusa.canon.com

Additionally, he wants to convey that this is what love does. He simply cannot fathom how love could turn against one who is loved. Guilt, and condemnation have no place in love. Ego is that which self-protects and attacks ... that is not possible with love. Love is that which is revealed, when the illusions are stripped away.

He just looked me in the eye, seeing me as I AM ... and said, "You are good. I see you, and you are GOOD."

That's what love looks like. And I am blown away by this depth of Other-Love.

For now, that's all I have to say ... on Day 5, as we walk this out. There is joy in this house. I am smiling ... Mark is smiling. The children are smiling. Love expands.

Uncanny, unlikely, even preposterous ... but nevertheless Real.

Expect the unexpected ...

Shalom & Namaste ~
Dena

46 comments:

MysticBlueRose said...

Holding you all in Love.

mandy said...

Thanks for sharing this Dena. I don't personally know you but I wanted you to know that I appreciated reading this as I once went through a very similar situation in my own marriage. I will keep you all in my prayers.

little castle said...

I went through a similar situation also. That was our journey though...and this is yours so no advice, just love. For all of you. (Michaela is getting married??????-how did I miss THAT???)

Hugs,
Krystal

MysticBrit said...

Lost all credibility? I don't think so, Dena. This post is entirely in character with the person I've come to know. You folks certainly don't do 'normal', and I'm expecting the unexpected... with great expectancy:)

I got your back, my friend.

cwtpmom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

Hopefully anyone who wants to leave a comments will see mine first and really consider what they are about to say. I understand cwtpmom's comments, I'm just not sure that they are helpful right now. Believe me, there is nothing more in all of creation that I want than to have Dena's heart return fully and completely to me. But I can't orchestrate that, and I really don't want her choosing to stay with me out of fear for what she may lose by leaving. Dena has lived in my heart for many years, and will continue regardless of the final outcome of this situation. I have already committed to Dena that she has a place here in this home, always. Anyone who knows Dena, knows what an absolutely amazing woman she is. Please leave your comments, but let them be comments of support and love as we walk through this, not comments to bring fear or pressure to consider the choices Dena is about to make. The love of my life is hurting enough as it is, adding additional stress to the situation is unhelpful. This is in no way meant to hurt cwtpmom, I just request that people truly consider how their words may come across.

Thank you.

Deb said...

Hi Dena :-)

Even though I have never met you in person or even talked to you by phone...I love you and your family.

No condemnation for any of you in this 'situation'.....ONLY Love will do! So I am sending you all much love....

Deb

cwtpmom said...

Mark, when I read Dena's blog late last night I was shocked, but not surprised. What I wrote didn't make a lot of sense so I deleted it. I didn't want it to cause harm. Love and concern-Connie

September said...

Dena, you don't even know me, but I feel like I know you through your various writings, here and elsewhere. I want to offer my love to you and Mark, and all your family, as you journey through this.

Anonymous said...

I don't know you. I don't know the details. What I'm about to say may not apply whatsoever.

Yes, God loved us even when we played the harlot. Ok, so you may not be in a right/wrong paradigm. Maybe this is about what works or doesn't work. But know this: Harlotry does not work.

Anonymous said...

((((Mark and Dena))))


Mark, what an amazing person you are. I love Dena (she is an explosion of joy and love, how can you not?) but your comment--would that it be the standard, and not the exception. You are an exceptional man, and a light of Love, too.


XO Bri

Paige said...

I'm about to get all defensive, and that isn't how I originally wanted to enter into this conversation. That said, to the anonymous poster who wanted to liken this situation to harlotry...Was that helpful? Edifying? Do you honestly suppose that a comment like that would add anything but fire (and not the holy kind) to a situation such as this?

Really, one wonders if you've read the OT, and if so, you must have overlooked the MANY occasions where a MAN had the audacity to share his heart with more than one woman at a time. Was Jacob a harlot? David? Do tell...

My deepest heart desire (in MY perfect world) would see Mark and Dena coming through this time strengthened in their love for each other, and steadfastly committed to the marriage they have had together for so many years. That may, or may not be the outcome in all this, but I know that God has shown me that through it all, they will be and are now loved. He's shown me that because of the love I have for my own daughter, and it is not diminished in any way that she is going through a divorce of her own. And HEAR THIS...Her life works, and continues to work.

Prayers for you both, Dena and Mark.

Paige

MysticBrit said...

Just my twopennorth -
First Anonymous-very strange comment, not coming from love. and certainly not in the spirit Mark's asked of commenters.
Bri - what you said. Mark, you're a very fine fella.
Paige - Totally agree. These two have the depth of love required to work this out.

David said...

Mark,
Having walked through this myself I know that relationships, marriage in particular, is only as good as you are willing to let it go and die. I our case, my wife found out that the one she had given her heart to, was not quite who she thought he was. It was a learning experience for both of us. If we can be a help to either of you,as you walk through this, Dena, you have my email address.
David (the bigfish)

Mark said...

As there have been several comments about the post from Anonymous, I feel no need to respond.

Bri, Paige, Harry, and David,

Thank you all for your very kind comments of love, and support, and your comments about both Dena's and my character. I am deeply grateful.

Yes, my highest desire is for us to walk through this and be together on the other side. But right now, next to that, is that I would show honor to Dena in all I do or say, and that I would be able to keep separate the pain in my heart, from my desire for Dena's joy and peace. Please pray to that end.

Thank you.

Dena said...

My turn ... :)

Yes, I'm smiling. I'm smiling at the overflow of love that comes through these posts. I'm smiling at the miracle I'm witnessing in Mark, in our children. I'm smiling at this transformation that IS happening. No, we're not all on the same page, re. the "outcome". But, we're trusting that we will ALL be. We can trust That which is orchestrating This.

Anonymous - I hear you. Everyone does the best they can, given what they believe. I understand what you believe ... I was there for decades. I'm not any longer. You have to be true to what you see, as do I. To do less, for either, would be a severe dishonoring. So, thank you, for giving the best you have to offer. I receive the intention of that gift, even as I notice it doesn't fit me. So, I'll be returning that gift.

To the others ... those who know me online, and those who know me in person ... I feel very *seen* by you all. I feel very accepted and loved. I feel incredibly validated, for who I am. I am grateful for the love being shown. I am, sincerely and honestly, feeling MUCH joy in the midst of this. Uncanny and preposterous, maybe ... but more Real than anything I've yet experienced ... and that's sayin' sumthin'!

I'm grateful for those who are walking this out with us. Keep trusting the outcome of what is GOOD for ALL ... please join us in not projecting what that "should" look like. Love = Freedom.

Anonymous said...

leave it to dena to spin selfishness as a virtue and doing what is right as a vice

Mark said...

Anonymous,

You have the right to your opinion, while I question the Spirit from which it comes.

This entire situation looms larger for me than for anyone, and I am not sitting in judgment of Dena. Dena and I have spent hours talking since last Monday when all this came out. I don't question her character or her integrity. Dena is a woman of honor, and this situation does not change that fact.

I still don't know how this will play out, but I can promise you that whatever happens, my respect and love for Dena will not change.

Dena said...

Well, "Anonymous," I'm nothing if not creative. ;)

I simply cannot receive your judgment ... it doesn't penetrate. I know myself, I see myself, I know who/how I am, and who/how I'm not.

I understand your judgment ... and if it's working for you, serving some purpose for you, then you do what you must, believe what you must, and think what you must - it's just not my business. As for me, judgment no longer works ... so I shed it, to become who I am.

This is, you may notice, my blog. I choose to live my life outloud, not hiding behind anyone, or anything. I invite others to connect with my life, if they're so drawn, with the hope that they too can live with transparency and authenticity.

I notice that your choice is to hide behind the "safety" of anonymity ... and I grieve for the fear that permeates your comments. Perhaps one day you can risk, and come out of hiding, and discover how glorious you really are.

Feel free to continue to post, as I want to keep this open and accessible to all. Just know that I can only receive what feels true to me.

I wish you well ...

Dena said...

Thank you, Mark ... you continue to honor me, and I'm grateful for all you're giving me.

Much love and respect from me!!!

Anonymous said...

Ask God to remove the lie from your heart. We choose who we love and how we love. Honor what you've chosen and cast out the lies.

Cheryl Ensom said...

speechless....dena and mark, you are amazing people. I am in tears. thank you for your honesty. for modeling love. I don't know what else to say...i emailed you, dena. but I hope you will call me. I really want to talk to you.

Cheryl Ensom said...

how ironic that "anonymous" and I were leaving comments at exactly the same time!

I hope you experience this sort of love at some point in your life, anonymous. This is the kind of radical, illogical, unreasonable love that Jesus displayed. This is the same love that caused him to say, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," WHILE he was being tortured. This kind of love sees the humanity in another and recognizes it as the humanity inside of him or herself and then extends the kind of love he/she wants to receive to the other person.

Ridiculous love....that's what I want to give and receive, even in the most painful of circumstances. I'm am so inspired by Dena and Mark. Thank you both.

Anonymous, can you just sit for a minute and think about how you would feel if the "other" in your life responded to you as Mark is responding? Can you imagine the way "ridiculous love" would change the inside of you? This sort of love changes people...moves things around inside them...heals old wounds. Safe love, fair love and reasonable/"normal" love keeps us panting for more. We always are wondering deep, deep down inside if we will be loved at the very end of ourselves, when we have nothing left to give, when we're at our worst, when we can't even lift our head off the pillow. We always wonder, "If I break, will someone love the pieces that are left of me?" Not everyone gets to find out that they will be or that they are loved that way. Not everyone gets to LOVE that way.

A line from the Velveteen Rabbit comes to mind...I just watched it with my kids...the skin horse says, "We got it wrong! it's not being loved that makes us real, it's lovING!" Sometimes the act of loving changes us. Think about how loving your newborn changes you, brings out the best in you, the strength you never could have called forth but somehow is called forth by this helpless, screaming infant. Loving changes us.

I just want to extend my support, respect and gratefulness to Dena and mark. I was just at my mom's and was telling her your story (what i know of it) and I told her that the only way to explain this kind of love is to compare it to Jesus. I've never encountered another human being displaying love like this. Mark, I am flabbergasted. Dena, your honesty and courage and determination to follow the truth inside of you, WHEREVER that takes you is astounding. I am in awe of and thinking about you both, as well as your kids.

Cheryl Ensom said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWqtwzEfRKY

MysticBrit said...

Cheryl, what you said.

You say, sometimes the act of loving changes us... I say, every time.

Mark, Dena, you are an inspiration.

Anonymous said...

This is the kind of love Jesus displayed? NOT! Jesus told the woman taken in adultery to go and sin no more. That means He identified what she did as sin, and He told her to knock it off. Do I see that example followed here? I do not.

But wait! Jesus was much harder on those who were teachers or leaders. Regardless of what Dena says, she is clearly a leader and a teacher. Her examples, good or bad, carry more influence. Why can’t the people here do what Jesus did when leaders sinned?

As for Mark ... is he showing love or is he doing the only thing he thinks he can do? How would I know? How would anyone know? I do not think Mark or Dena are be thinking of their children. Can we guess as the anguish that those precious ones are feeling as they wait to learn if mommy is going to dump daddy for some young buck?

My suggestion to all is to stop enabling this travesty and start praying for the children.

MysticBrit said...

Anonymous - until you come out from your cloak of anonymity, why should anyone take you seriously? No other commenter is hiding. Have you been through anything like what this family is going through? If not, then cease and desist.

I notice Jesus also said something about those who are sinless casting the first stone.

And do you think everyone who comments here, or just reads, is unable to form their own ideas, but needs someone else to tell them what to think? That we are so susceptible and gullible that we believe every word Dena writes, and take it as absolute truth? That we take her life as a pattern for ours? If you do, you are badly mistaken.

cwtpmom said...

Dena wouldn't want anyone to pattern their life after her. Her message is for everyone to learn to think for themselves.

Paige said...

Anonymous said, "How would I know?"

That's a good place to start. Question your assumptions. You've assumed much about those of us posting comments here too. Question those assumptions, too.

Dena said...

Though I've not been able to post, or even to commment ... I've been reading. I'm so astonished at what's unfolding here ...

I'll be posting an update soon ... much is happening. The love shown here is breathtaking ... I'm in awe.

MUCH love to you all ... thank you Paige, Harry, and Connie. Yes, Connie, you nailed it. That's the message I'm giving with my life ... the message my children are hearing.

Today, and this week, are pivotal. I ask for support ... my prayer is for the most benevolent outcome, for ALL...!

It's an honor to know you all. I'll never be the same again ...!

Anonymous said...

MysticBrit - Funny how you use my anonymity to reject what I say. Seems like a case of if you can not discredit the message then discredit the messenger. Meh.

The truth of God does not rest on the one who says it. Reject His truth or accept it. There is a lot of cheep talk about love here. I do not see love in what Dena is doing to her children. I do not see godly love in those who support her unloving ways.

By the way, I have not posted most of the "anonymous" comments here. Funny how no one had a problem with an anonymous +1.

Paige said...

Actually, my first post was in response to Anonymous #1. Did you read it?

Dena said...

Yes, Paige ... that was a wonderful comment! So full of love! It's been all-consuming here, on every level ... and I've not been able to keep up, but I do read, notice and appreciate..!

I do know this ... like keeps working, no matter what we think.

MysticBrit said...

Anonymous - my statement still stands. I am not attacking you, but simply asking you to identify yourself. I won't debate with anyone who hides. What have you to lose by identifying yourself?

What is going on here is far more than you seem to be aware of, and nothing you say is helping the situation. What is more, you are going against Mark's wishes in this. You are intruding.

MysticBrit said...

Dena - you certainly won't be the same. I guarantee it.

cwtpmom said...

Dena, we're all connected. Nothing ever stays the same. If you do the tough thing now, you will end up well. Now is the time to hunker down and batten down the hatches. I have no advice for how to do that, but I don't want you to be left dangling somewhere, with America falling apart.

Love never stands alone. In scripture it is always accompanied by faith and hope (faith, hope and charity); charity being the pure love of Christ, both expressed and received.

Just remember, Connie says true love never stands alone. True love is god's love, and god's love is inseparably connected to faith and hope.

May we all be more fervent in our prayers for one another.

James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.

James 5: 16
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

1 Pet. 1: 22
22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

1 Pet. 4: 8
8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

Dave said...

Praying... as a child who has experienced this sort of thing from a child's perspective... I'm praying.

Anonymous said...

MysticBrit said...

"What is more, you are going against Mark's wishes in this. You are intruding."

I'm just sticking up for the kids. Funny how that makes me a bad person. Meh.

MysticBrit said...

Anonymous - I know you are. We all are. Do you think we're all callous and unfeeling? Again, why don't you identify yourself? It seems very childish to hide, to say the least.

Again, you simply don't know what is really going on in this family, so your comments carry no weight.

Sandy said...

Initially I started writing this as an anonymous user. I decided what's the point? It saddens me greatly to see someone pulled into the dredge of adultery. Into a fog so thick there is only gray. Only able to see yourself and your needs.
I was there, four years ago. I wanted my cake and eat it too. For a while I justified to myself and to those who would support me, that I was happier this way. Living in a fog has it's perks. I gave my heart to another man, at the same time believing that my heart still belonged to the man I'm married to. Dena you know what happened. You and Mark both prayed for us. Only through the amazing love of Jesus did Mike and I come through it. I've read all of the comments on here and Facebook. Some of them amaze me. I agree with Anonymous. Especially this statement, "This is the kind of love Jesus displayed? NOT! Jesus told the woman taken in adultery to go and sin no more. That means He identified what she did as sin, and He told her to knock it off. Do I see that example followed here? I do not." This isn't casting stones, as some have said, it's stating a true fact. Black and white. He didn't say go and continue to do this because it gives you a higher spiritual fulfillment, it's more love and you will live happily ever after. Jesus said go and sin no more.
I guess what I don't understand is how all of this hurt is so justifiable? Well being in a position of hurting those I love, I guess I get it to a point. The pain I feel from what I put my husband through is still very fresh after even four years.

These are not the actions from someone who I came to respect and look up to. Do I think there is a simple solution? Yes I do. Is it easy? Absolutely not. Who wants to confront themselves for being selfish and expecting others to try and be happy with their selfish decisions? No one. Not me, I didn't.
Please don't take this as condemnation but receive this for what it is. Truth. I have been the cause of extreme pain to satisfy a selfish need/desire. I can call it out, because I've been there. I can't just say "I love you, you're amazing, and I'm praying", because that wouldn't be honest, which is what I did in an email originally. That's sugar coating it.
I'm not writing because I worry about your salvation or your relationship with God, that's between you and Him. I just get to pray. I'm here because I recognize the empty spot in your heart and the open wounds in Marks. I do love you guys and pray that this will be resolved quickly, the damage that has been done will be completely healed, and that only through Jesus will you find that higher spiritual fulfillment and amazing love you're searching for.

MysticBrit said...

Sandy, for my part, I apologise unreservedly. I'm in regular touch with Mark and, very occasionally, Dena, so that's all I can say just now.

Dena said...

No one involved here is in the realm of Christianity ... so certain positions and suggestions do not apply.

It would be good for people not living in this household, who are not experiencing nor witnessing what's actually occurring here, to perhaps withhold judgment. Projecting one's own perspective and past experience onto another's life is ineffective at best, and intrusive. Questions, rather than assumptions, would be most helpful at this point in time.

We who are directly involved, are working this out, together. Advice is only welcomed when asked for. And even then, what we most need, is found within, rather than from outside.

Just be love.

That's all.

MysticBrit said...

Sandy - it took great courage to say what you said. I admire you greatly for it. Peace enfold you.

Harry

dianaluvsu said...

Dena, I have not been on here since you came to Baytown. My sweet friend, my heart breaks for your pain during this growing season. I have read all these post and all I can say is, " I just love you".

My comment to the judging.....This is an imperfect world with imperfect people.., but we have a perfect Father. Thank goodness God has equipped some of us to do what He said, "encourage and lift up one another". We ALL have different struggles and one is not worse than the other. Jesus said to "love one another". That is the simplicity of this whole situation. Our job is to love, love, love, and sometimes we get it right and sometimes we don't. Thank goodness for GRACE. I like to say," we are called as lovers, not judgers".

I so miss you and look forward to seeing you when we come up in August. I will be praying for His wisdom and strength in your situation.

My peace and joy abound,
Diana

dianaluvsu said...

Also, thanks for sharing your heart. It has helped me and I hope it will help others.

Dena said...

(((Diana)))

You've deeply touched my heart! Thank you for this kindness! I'm currently on a soul-searching private retreat ... but I was about to use the blog to post some thoughts that struck me in my reading this morning. Your loving comment is so very appreciated!

May we all learn more and more about love ...

And yes, it'll be wonderful to see you both in August!!!