Someone communicated to me recently that several couples whom Stan counseled are "disillusioned" to learn that Stan had a relationship with me while he was still married and was warning them of "such relationships." If that is really true and not just a way of repackaging judgment into something that will more clearly occupy the moral high ground, I would like to suggest that such suffering has a remedy.I am quite certain that Stan did not warn of relationships like ours. As I have expressed, we did not have an affair. Explaining why that is the case and why our relationship did not threaten Stan's marriage is not something I can do on the internet. But if you are genuinely struggling with how to put those pieces together, I sympathize--though shunning me will not assist you in resolving that struggle. You simply lack the information necessary to draw any conclusions.
Truth is often way more difficult that we think. All of us have had experiences where we are certain that we have all the information we need to make a judgment, only to learn later that we were lacking key facts that change the picture entirely. I have a good deal of information that most people who are judging this situation don't have and couldn't imagine. Ignoring that fact doesn't make it any less true.Stan was who you thought he was. As I expressed at his memorial:
"He was indeed a person of fierce integrity. He loved God with all his heart. He loved you with all his heart. He was a complex man, and a courageous man who worked hard to create space for all of the truth, not just the parts that fit into the dominant paradigm. He was out of the box himself and he responded lovingly to the parts of you that could not be easily catalogued or categorized. So perhaps it's not surprising that some of his own relationships simply didn't fit into any familiar boxes."For the many of you who know me and have been cared for by me, I also am the person you thought I was back when you respected me. I did ministry alongside Stan for nearly 20 years at great personal cost and out of a deep sense of calling. I am still that person. The conclusion that you have reason to be disillusioned depends on a conclusion that both of us lack integrity or a moral compass. You really don't have a basis for that conclusion without talking to me.
The truth is just more complex than such judgments about our integrity allow.Stan also really loved me. That is not because I am a manipulative, selfish, conniving woman who tricked him into betraying his marriage vows. I am not such a person. And Stan was no fool. That story doesn't square with what you knew of him.
I don't expect that you would be able to put the whole picture together yourself. But if you are honestly struggling with how to put the picture together, concluding that Stan failed you or that I failed you without talking to me is not a principled shortcut. And doing that may well lead you to suffer disillusionment unnecessarily. I encourage you not to let your faith depend on such flimsy evidence.Although I am suffering, I am committed to helping people to keep and build on the comfort and the teaching that Stan offered to them. That means that if you approach me with sincere questions rather than judgment and condemnation, I will sit with you and do my best to help you make sense of your experience. That's not an offer to defend myself to you. It's an offer to help you understand the truth. I will do that for Stan, and for you.