I remember ‘Each Peach, Pear, Plum’ – the first book I carried home from school on the bus at the age of five. I left it on the bus and there was no end to my distraught tears. I loved it because it had a whole cast of characters from nursery rhymes, as though they had all met up behind the scenes. I loved the comfort and the rhythm of the words.
I remember getting my Good News Bible when I was seven, my first ‘proper’ Bible, and the mornings that I got up at 6.30am to read it. I revelled in the stories, and could name all the Bible heroes.
I remember Enid Blyton, stacked in piles under my pillow so I could whip them out as soon as my parents had left the room. I would hold my bedside lamp under the covers while I followed the next adventure of the Famous Five. I remember the hole in my duvet cover from where the lightbulb had been too close, and the black, singed pieces of hardened cloth falling onto the sheet.
I remember taking my Bible to camp, and the stickers covering it, ‘seven days without prayer makes one weak’ and other such witticisms, and the notes and prayers written in the title pages from fellow campers who were embarking on the adventure with me. I started posting up special verses, ones that had spoken to me.
I remember my teens and Robert Cormier and William Golding and George Orwell. I raged against the institution and I was going to change the world someday.
I remember my NIV paperback, so well-thumbed that it proclaimed proudly on the front, ‘Bibles which are falling apart are usually read by people who aren’t.’
I remember Silvia Plath and delicious darkness; Shakespeare’s elegant lyrical acrobatics; Jane Austen’s sarcasm, Keats and the comfort of melancholy; Camus and Beckett and the verse of despair. I drank in the words and wondered if I were falling apart after all, if we were all falling apart.
I remember my Study Bible, my questions, my underlinings, my tears, my searching and researching; the mourning of dismantling and then the joy of seeing it as an architect – oh, this is how it fits together!
I remember fighting with God through it and because of it, rejoicing at the words written as though just for me, reading the same thing again but feeling like I was reading it for the first time. At times the Bible has been to me a sword that strikes so deep it divides bone from marrow and I feel the spiritual pain as it does so; at times cool water to my thirsty soul and honey to my spirit.
To declare love, true love for God’s word is to declare war with my will, and every time I pick it up I do battle.
I have a whole wall of books written by fine people, and their words are beautiful, but none are life like this book. It speaks of my Saviour and carries his whisper into my life, when my heart is still enough to hear it.
“O give me that book! At any price, give me the book of God! I have it: here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be a man of one book!” ~John Wesley
“The law from your mouth is more precious to me
than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.” (Psalm 119:72 NIV)
Very late to the party, but this post was inspired by Amber Haines’ piece: An abstraction on a book.
Over to you:
- What was your favourite fiction book(s) as a child?
- What has your relationship with the Bible been like?
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