I was 23 before I saw that the Bible I'd been shown all of my life -- a confusing tangle of chapter and verse numbers, colons, names of people and races long dead -- was really a narrative, rich in meaning and experience, that continues to present day with a core message that never loses relevance.
I read so many books, essays, speeches out of context, never understanding until I saw the situations and backgrounds from which they'd arisen.
I met a great deal of people of people who were eager to know, "What do you do?", and from whom I was eager to hear the answer, before I realised that I would much rather know the answer to this one: Who are you?
More than ever before, now I want to know what's truest of any human, animal, idea, object or belief that crosses my path. I find that's usually not lying around on the surface for just anyone to see. I'm sick of taking things only at face value, of the laziness that leaves us ignorant and uncomprehending of the depths.
I'm far from the first to feel this way. There must be more of us around than I'm prone to think, or how would Leunig have thought to write the following prayer?
"God be with those who explore in the cause of understanding, whose search takes them far from what is familiar and comfortable and leads them into danger or terrifying loneliness. Let us try to understand their sometimes strange or difficult ways; their confronting or unusual language; the uncommon life of their emotions, for they have been affected and shaped and changed by their struggle at the frontiers of a wild darkness, just as we may be affected, shaped and changed by the insights they bring back to us. Bless them with strength and peace." (From When I Talk To You: A Cartoonist Talks To God)