It was just another ordinary day, at least it began that way. I awoke to the normal aches and pains of a man my age. I had seen 80 summers and winters come and go, each one a little faster than the one before. Though time seemed to go quicker, I seemed to be getting slower and slower, and each day it seemed to take longer and longer to get going. Looking down at my hands I could see the passage of time etched into the wrinkles and brown spots. I used to be so proud of my hands and my iron hard grip. "Simeon," they said, "could make a man cry by shaking hands alone." I loved it when they didn’t believe me and I got a chance to prove it.
Those days are gone, now I find it even hard to close my hand, arthritis it seems has humbled even the mighty Simeon. Now what flesh I have left, barely covers my bones, and seems to taunt me saying, "see if we’ll help you old man.." Youth is wasted on the young, I thought, youth is wasted on the young.
One thing I enjoyed about my advanced years is that I didn’t seem to be pulled on so much by the passions of the flesh. Like David’s friend Barzillai, whom David wanted to reward for his kindness, and who turned it down I can say, "I am this day fourscore years old: and can I discern between good and evil? can thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink? can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women? wherefore then should thy servant be yet a burden unto my lord the king?" I never thought I’d live to such a day, but such is life. Being thus freed from the demands of the flesh, I turned myself with great passion to the Lord my God, which I should have done years earlier. Regret young people, is a terrible thing to live with. I should have served my Lord better, when I was younger, I should have listened to the advice of Solomon who said, "Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, "I have no pleasure in them;" (Ec 12:1)
God had greatly burdened me for my nation. The politicians were crooks, liars, and thieves, the preachers were a bunch of money grubbers, and the young people were more rebellious than any group of young people I had ever seen. I understand things now are still the same, oy evay! such is life!
In spite of all this I also saw some very encouraging signs, there was a remnant of God’s people who had a zeal and passion to follow and know the law of God. They even called themselves zealots. There were some wonderful teachers of God’s word, Rabbi Hillel, Rabbi Shammai, these men truly taught the law and justice of God. They called the people to holiness, and with one voice they seemed to be saying, "The Messiah is coming soon."
Often when I’d hear them teach I’d be reminded of something that happened many years ago. I was in prayer at the temple, seeing the money changers desecrate that "holy Place," I cried out to God, and repented of our wickedness and pleaded that he would send the Messiah. I was bowed on my knees with my face to the floor, my eyes were closed and I was rocking as I prayed.