Since I have woken up this morning feeling a little bit brighter and a whole lot much more clearer of mind than I was yesterday. I thought I would get back to my Passions Profile Challenge.

[And by the way, many, many, thanks for all the comments and emails of support that I received in response to yesterday’s post – they really are appreciated]

So today I am going to be writing about number 7 on my list – my passion for reading.

In my explanatory paragraph on my original list I stated that when it comes to reading…

I love reading and read a great deal.  It’s all about creativity, communication, imagination.  It’s about the sharing , the expressing, the learning and the empathizing for me .

As a child it was a window into the lives of others and my love for the bible afforded me many windows into the lives of the saints and the prophets and the disciples and Old Testament characters.

And as a Child it was also form of escapism for me.  Through books and the stories woven within books I could shake of the shackles of; my life, my surroundings, my world and escape into new worlds, new surroundings, and a whole plethora of new lives.

When much younger I would join with Mollie and Peter on the Wishing Chair or with Jo, Bessie and Fanny’s cousin Dick at the Magic Faraway Tree as Enid Blyton took us all on the most wonderful adventures.

Going to the most enchanted of places and meeting the most rambunctious of characters – even more rambunctious than I was and trust me that is saying something – was a sheer joy for me.

And even though it is reported that Enid Blyton did not herself like children very much this one child liked her very much indeed, well I liked her stories and that was good enough for me. In fact I liked them so much that I even have those books in my library today.

As I grew a little older – and were you to peek into my room at night you would be met not by me sleeping, as I was meant to be, but instead be me reading by a small boy reading by torch-light.

Now which boy you met – Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, a young Davey Crockett, one of the famous five, a young Robinson Crusoe, or Gulliver, or Tom Brown, or David Copperfield, or Little Lord Fauntleroy (oh the list is endless) depended on what the young Kevin was reading that particular night.

When a little older, my interests turned to Tolkien and to The Hobbit and thusly to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  I devoured it and the rest of the books in the collection.

I loved the imagery, the battle between good and evil, the underdog coming up against the tyrannical injustice and might and winning through.

Like so many books before and since, it spoke to me.  It drew me in. It shared and invited and welcomed.

It said here is our journey, why not come along? And I did.  With every heart-racing, tear-jerking, page and emotion turning moment my mind dove into it an paralleled it with my own struggles.  So much did I enjoy it that for the exam that decided which senior school I was to attend I converted a highlighted version of it into verse and secured a place in the top school as a result of it. (Not that I took up that particular place – but then I was a rebel after all.)

After the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy came the Chronicles of Narnia and my love for the writings of C.S. Lewis.

Another collection (which like Tolkien’s I am pleased number within my library).

My new found love of Christ ( I grew up in a very orthodox and traditional hight Church of England setting and one where Christ was often mentioned but seldom explained and where His importance was totally misunderstood and incorrectly taught) fueling my passion for these books.  As did my love of adventure, words, stories and escapism.

At the same time my love for the Bible re-ignited and a new-found love for many other Christian writings and hagiography began.

Alongside this I developed an interest in learning about and understanding other teachings.  Additionally, (as a result of my upbringing and the darker, more secretive side of my father’s past) I wanted to learn more about Satanism, witchcraft and the Occult.

My education was finishing in terms of academia and it was time to go out into the world of employment but my love of learning continued through my reading.  Something which has only ever been hindered by my mental health and the times when my mind just couldn’t take things in.

As parents my wife and I rad regularly to our son and made sure that books were an essential part of his childhood and I urge all parents to do the same.  For establishing this in early childhood can benefit a child no end.

That mental health and the effects I spoke about are critical to my reading and how much I read and whilst the mind that I have and it’s ability to read and devour information were a complete God-send, there was to be a terrible downside of it also.

My memory started going and with it my ability to retain information and enjoy reading. Bible references that I could at one time remember and quote with ease I no longer recalled.  Information which I always had to hand was no longer there for me.  And re-obtaining it or obtaining and retaining new information beyond my mental reach.

At times when I read I am not able to even remember the first sentence before I have reached half way through the second sentence and I cannot begin to explain the devastating effect that can have on the ability to enjoy reading.  How can you enjoy a story if you can’t remember the story – whose in it, what they did, and when?

Thankfully this is something which seems to be improving and I am so grateful for that.  Because for the past five years I haven’t even been able to write any of the books that I have been writing. I couldn’t even remember storylines, plots and characters of my own stories and books that I have written for my own children.

They say that ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ and that ‘you never really appreciate something until you have lost it.’

Well there is certainly some truth in that and certainly in respect of my reading.

So reading is something that I do count as a passion and one which I am so delighted some of my children also have.  I am so proud of them for this and delight when they share the books they are reading with me.

Sadly I do not own such luxuries as a kindle.  But thankfully I do have a kindle app on my phone and can get books on there.  So when I am travelling to and from or waiting around at hospital appointments I am able to read.

I am also able to read blogs and to enter and share through them into the worlds and lives that my fellow bloggers live.

Reading offers such a wealth, such a challenge, such an education that we could not get anywhere else.

I remember thinking about my children and of how much I love them.  Many of them go through so much and have so little by this world’s standards and I remember wanting to offer them so much in life.  I recall saying to myself, “If the world was mine to offer them I would gladly do so.”

Well I can’t offer this world to my children and to be honest with you, the way it is looking I am not sure they would want it or I would want to offer it.

But through books and a love of reading I can offer my children hundreds of worlds and in so doing I hope and pray that together they and I can learn to improve this world that we do share.