A sinful woman in the town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house. So she brought an alabaster jar of perfume and stood behind Jesus at his feet, crying. She began to wash his feet with her tears, and she dried them with her hair, kissing them many times and rubbing them with the perfume.

Luke 7:37-38


I’m realizing that I’ve said nothing about happiness in my adult years. There surely was brightness in my life. How did it appear? Did it last?

It lasted for quite a number of years, even in the midst of suffering.

Before carrying on with this theme of BPD, I want to pause to tell you about the happier parts of my life, even though I was still dealing with mental health issues. Remember, I had bipolar disorder since 1965 but was only diagnosed with BPD three years ago. I had spent most of my life as an overly sensitive person, experiencing the pain that came with it.

At age forty, light began to replace the darkness I had been experiencing. After twenty years of severe mental illness I searched for God and found him (some would say he found me). I needed him badly. A big change came over me when, in one of my first prayers, I asked him to fill my heart with his love and to help me share this love with others. (Recognition of Jesus came a while later.)

I had just started going to Cliff Avenue United Church, the first church I attended as an adult. Here I began my walk with God. It must have been one of the happiest times of my life with many friendly relationships.

On my first several Sundays there, I could not contain my tears during the hymn singing. I wonder if I didn’t have the same emotions as the sinful woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears? I too had a great need for Jesus. Maybe the result of childhood trauma? Maybe the result of needing the kind of love Jesus offered – greater than I’d ever had before?

I wasted no time joining the Bible study, eager to learn all I could. I loved the study and applying what I learned to my life. The friends I made there formed a secure basis of meaningful relationships – meaningful because we were all on the same page. I was with this same group for the many years I attended this church.

At Cliff Avenue I was given opportunities to serve in many creative ways. I organized two depression workshops for the public, something seldom done in churches at that time. The church was my spiritual family and I felt very much a part of it – surrounded with love.

But for various reasons I could not stay. At one point I found the church could no longer fill my needs and I was not able to stay.

Leaving that church and my friends was terribly painful. I was in tears every morning as I listened to Mario Lanza sing “I’ll Walk with God.” With this song I promised God that I would always stay close to him.

At this church I had found God and his light in the midst of my darkness. I had been happy there, but it was time to move on.