THE ALMANIC ON THE SHELF
by CHARLES ROBEY
(MOODY AL USA)
The young pastor was making his initial rounds visiting his church parishioners. After the initial welcoming, hoping to make a good impression, he asked the lady of the house if he could read something inspiring. Agreeing, she asked her son to go fetch the book she loved so well, the one giving the family guidance in their daily affairs. The boy instantly went to the other room and brought back the Farmer’s Almanac.
When I sit down to write, I oftentimes consider trend-jacking. With respect to fiction, many are out there, both new and dated. Which do I dip my pen into? Do I dip into make-believe or reality? Do I consider the past, the present or the future, or perhaps a combination of all? As a normal rule, I usually consider faith-based fiction, an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.
For some strange direction, this time around, I was providently guided towards writing about, of all topics, the almanac. This was somewhat surprising, as I wasn’t really so much into this form of information display.
Having been retired a number of years, it’s the little things in life that now draw my attention. Things like waiting for the morning paper to arrive, going to the fast-food for my morning breakfast, and walking the dog. This time around it was waiting for the arrival of next year’s almanac, one of my wife’s favorite reads. What excitement it generates. Its weather predictions seem to make our day, when found to be correct. It's kind of disappointing when they are not.
When can we expect snow? When will summer arrive, so we can go swimming? Will there be any tornadic weather? When may I plant my tomatoes? What will Christmas be like? Oh, you get my drift, I suppose. Yes, it doesn’t take much to entertain this older than dirt, twice as gritty old coot.
Don't get me wrong; almanacs are great information tools. However, they are limited to earthly concerns. They don’t dive into the most important facts of life, those being the spiritual realm. Have you read your Bible today?
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
So, have you checked your almanac lately? When will it rain? When is the first freeze? When is the time to plant, to reap. We need not think anymore. It’s all laid out for us in real time, in a book.
So, fasten your faith-based seat belts and hold on to your Old Time Religion hat. Here we go! Please read on and enjoy, "THE ALMANAC ON THE SHELF.”
Summer was quickly disappearing with the onset of fall. Being retired, with not much to do, I always enjoy reading my trusty almanac. “What will this year’s winter bring on?” I pondered as I turned the pages of my Farmer’s Almanac.
I must have snoozed off a bit, as usual while reading as I sat there on the back deck, for that’s when the most unusual dream occurred. ”Why me," I ask myself. This most unusual scene doesn’t benefit my studious Biblical professorship reputation in the least. I’m certainly no farmer or even the friend of a farmer.
I was in a field, but not of fruits and vegetables; rather the crop was of stacks and stacks of booklets. Going closer, I saw them to be almanacs, looking as if they were growing out of the ground. Some were new. Others were rather old, and some were even torn from wear.
Looking around, I saw a man. He was sitting in the middle of the garden, appearing to be writing. I’d know this man anywhere. He was straight out of my early history book, as if he had escaped from America’s Second Continental Congress in the assembly hall of the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia.
He was appropriately dressed for his day, and his demeanor and dress gave him away.
His long brown coat with matching vest, dark trousers, neatly starched white shirt, long socks and leather, buckle-topped shoes were an indication of the times in which he lived. And the bifocal glasses perched on his nose were a dead giveaway as well.
The more I looked at him, the more confirmed my recognition became. He had to be one of the Founding Fathers of America, that well-known patriot who possessed many talents in leadership, philosophy, and inventions. But why this character was here in my dream, why in a garden, and what his intentions might be were clearly beyond my understanding.
He promptly spoke to me as I approached, "You seem to be a bit bewildered."
“In fact, I surely am," I replied. Who are you, and why are you here in this unusual book-garden? And what’s with that large, well-worn book you have there?
With no further ado, he began to speak and read from the writing in his book. It was as if he was an old-time preacher, giving out advice.
“Love your Enemies, for they tell you your Faults,” he began. “There never was a good war or a bad peace. He that lies down with Dogs, shall rise up with fleas. Better slip with foot than tongue. Look before, or you’ll find yourself behind. Don’t throw stones at your neighbors, if your own windows are glass. He that would live in peace and at ease, must not speak all he knows or judge all he sees. Well done is better than well said.”
"Wow, I was surely right. You are just who I thought you were. But why are you here, in my dream garden?" I asked. He failed to answer, so I looked up, but he was gone. In his place, lying there on the bench was a signed copy of his famous writings.
That’s when I woke up. I was back home, just as if I never had left, sitting on the back deck with my almanac in hand.
"Yes, I will surely never forget this one. Oh well, time to get ready for work. Time for another tour of duty at the old Bible college salt mine. Will it rain, will the sunshine, how will my travel in be blessed?" I wondered
"Oh, Dear, is breakfast ready?” I called.
“Yes, my love," she replied. "Have a seat, I’ll bring your morning coffee."
Today’s America is not the America of yesteryear, and surely not the America of its inception. Where did “WE”, and Imply “WE”, go wrong? America is made up of people like you and me, as America’s Constitution relates.
“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” (US Constitution)
We shall not and we will not ever give up our God given rights.
“When in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation."
“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” (Declaration of Independence)
So, how do “We the People” save America? It’s very simple!
“if My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (II Chronicles 7:14)
Now, let’s go to work, America. Amen!