Don’t just be grateful. Express it!

A Biblical story found in Luke 17:11-19 tells of ten men with leprosy, whom Jesus encountered on his way to Jerusalem from the District of Galilee where he had spent most of his life and ministry.

Jesus was entering an unnamed village on the border with Samaria, when the ten called out from a distance, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us” (NIV v 13). Aware no doubt of His concern for the sick, and reputation as a healer, they were probably motivated more by self-pity than a desire to learn of his novel teachings.

Jesus did nothing, but told them to “Go, show yourselves to the priests” (NIV v 14). It would have been the priests who diagnosed their disease, and required their isolation under Levitical law, to prevent spread to others. Likewise, it was necessary for their improvement to be verified by the priests before they could be considered well enough to return to society. Luke states that as they obeyed His directive, they were ‘cleansed’.

All were healed but only one of them, then thought to go back to Jesus, declare his profound gratitude and praise God. Significantly, he was a Samaritan, an outsider, and one to be looked down upon!

The Samaritans were a mixed-race people, descendants from Israelites in the district between Judea in the south, and Galilee in the north, who had inter-bred with Assyrian invaders after the era of Solomon. Ten of the tribes of Israel had broken away and elected their own leaders who ruled them from the city of Samaria. The Samaritans were seen as having departed from the God of the Israelites and His worship at the magnificent temple Solomon built in Jerusalem. They no longer belonged to the true faith.

But Jesus, by asking where were the other nine who had been healed, was promoting a different kind of religious orthodoxy. No doubt the other nine were also appreciative of being rid of their malady, but they took this miraculous blessing for granted, and in doing so overlooked God’s ability to, in addition, impart a whole new way of life. Jesus commended the sole leper who returned to express heart-felt gratitude, by saying: “Rise and go; your faith has made you well” – NIV v. 19

In this regard, it is relevant what Mark 3:31-35 records Jesus as saying when interrupted while teaching. He had been told that members of his own family were outside, looking for Him.

Jesus took this opportunity to make an important point, by declaring His priority. Of greater importance to Him than seeing His family then, was His wish to continue what He was telling His listeners while He had their undivided attention. Turning to them, He said in v. 34 and 35 (NIV), “Here are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does God’s will is My brother and sister and mother”.

Jesus is in essence saying: those to whom I am most closely attached, are not those of any particular church or creed, but those who are willing to listen to God and heed His teachings.

Popstar, my nom de plume, has an affinity for this story after performing numerous reconstructive operations on patients with leprosy over a period of five years, firstly in India, subsequently in Papua-New Guinea, and for a few months in the West African nation of Sierra Leone.

He would like to point out that descriptions of the leprosy of Biblical times found in Leviticus 13 and 14 suggest that it was a generic name for a group of infectious diseases affecting the skin, and not identical with what the medical profession prefers to call Hansen’s Disease today. There could have been outbreaks of several contagious medical conditions threatening the health and well-being of the thousands of itinerant Israelites in their trek to the promised land.

They had no effective means of treatment. They could only control its spread by isolating sufferers from others until the priests deemed that the risk had passed. Hansen’s Disease as we know it today, whilst not highly contagious, is a chronic infection spread from person to person. It is caused by an organism similar to that which causes Tuberculosis.

Hansen’s Disease patients, unlike many of the patients with biblical leprosy, do not recover in a limited time frame. Unfortunately, the isolation imposed on patients with biblical leprosy created a lasting stigma for patients with Hansen’s Disease today. They have been segregated in leprosy colonies for treatment indefinitely, away from family and friends, and their normal environment.

Today, after several decades of effective multi-drug therapy, their lot is much improved. It is no longer the threat it was, but new pestilences causing disastrous epidemics and pandemics, have arisen.

Are we as appreciative as we should be for the miracles of life, and the remedies available to us through advances in medical science?

Pop-star celebrates two milestones

For those not familiar my nom de plume I would like to explain that my mischievous grand-children mockingly subverted my official designation Poppy, to this rather demeaning nick-name. It gave them great pleasure, and it has lasted to this day. There could be no one less like the Pop-Stars they adore, than yours-truly.

Why I’m even too decrepit for such a stylish moniker, having just two days before the outbreak of the devastating war in Ukraine, turned 85. For the last few years my zest for blogging, which Mrs. Pop-star has long viewed with misgiving as an obsession, has waned. (she’s right of course) My finished posts are pretty-well devoid of literary merit, have dubious relevance to others, and are possibly at times a provocative read for those who inadvertently come across them. When I should be in bed with her, I am wide awake trying to find appropriate words for my “important” dissertations. Why should I bother?

However, now that I have been able to survive to such an age, I thought to perhaps revisit on occasions my blogging activity, taking now the perspective of one who is seriously old.

I am grateful for my safe and pleasant surrounds, and the helpful staff, in a retirement village at Redland Bay, (Adventist Retirement Village) 35 kms from the Brisbane CBD. But most of all I am grateful to Mrs. Pop-Star who this month celebrated with me our 59th wedding anniversary.

Marital marathons are not too uncommon amongst the elderly couples here, so we are denied bragging rights. However, for us it is still a “big deal”. I naively thought we might be asked to what we attributed our longevity, giving me the opportunity to wisely pontificate on the secrets of a happy marriage. Not so.

If we were asked however, my wife would of course quickly and obligingly say that marrying me was the best day’s work she has ever done, and that she was going to stick with me!

For my part I have given the answer some thought and have come to the conclusion that the secret of a successful marriage in large part lies in acquiring a measure of “selective deafness”. (My wife has often remarked of this in me) . In is helpful however for a couple to be able to turn a deaf ear to hurtful words. Arguments end marriages.

It is true that marriages necessitate “give and take” to last. Give love and take no offence. Marriage is a lottery in life, but it needs commitment and cooperation if it is going to work.

It goes without mention that a spouse should never stay in an abusive relationship. Verbal lashings are likely to be followed by physical lashings.

End of March 1945 for the 11th Airborne Division

Thank you for reminding us of the debt we owe to those who have defended our country.

Pacific Paratrooper

Luzon, 1945

22 March – The 187th Reg., the 674th and 675th Field Artillery units had completed their move from Tanauan to Cuenca, Luzon; taking over positions left by the 158th.

23 March – the Japanese stormed A Company’e outpost on San Jose Hill.    The outpost forced the enemy back but had lost Captain Hanna who had not remained in the safety zone with the rest of his unit.  The artillery forward observer was able to  call in artillery fire on the enemy locations and the following morning.

Col. Pearson dispatched G and F Companies to clean out the area.  Tanks battered down houses and the engineers deactivated land mines, but NW of the village, the enemy fired from concealed caves and stopped the attack.

117th Engineering Batt. searching for mines

24 March – the Japanese reentered the village of Dita during the night.  Four battalions of artillery and…

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Lets be fair! There may be other factors other than their own age when elderly drivers have accidents.

I often read “60 Starts at 60” because of its well-written articles raising issues of concern to the elderly.

This is a link to one article that has just recently arrested my attention:

It reports on a UK motor vehicle accident that has sparked an international call for elderly drivers to be taken off the roads.


The campaign to kick older drivers off the road has gone international after an 84-year-old woman was found guilty of causing an accident that forced a loving husband to run over and kill his wife.

The Sun reports that Jean Williams was driving in the UK, when she tried to overtake a tractor just before a sharp bend in the road.

Vanessa McAloon, 48, was riding her motorcycle in the oncoming lane, with her 52-year-old husband, Jim, on a separate motorcycle behind her. Vanessa was forced to slam her breaks to avoid being hit by Williams’ Vauxhall Corsa and was thrown from her bike. Jim, who was seconds behind her on his own motorcycle, accidentally struck his wife when he came around the bend.
Vanessa died of her injuries, and the incident was made even more tragic by the fact the couple were on a ride to celebrate her final round of chemotherapy to beat cancer.


Yet even from the limited details given in the article, I think it may be unfair to attribute all the blame for this tragic accident to 84 year old Jean Williams. We do not know for example whether the tractor driver was driving his slow-moving farm vehicle as far to the left as possible. It might have been prudent for there to have been an accompanying vehicle to have warned other drivers of its presence, if it was excessively large, and intruding well onto the road.

One cannot help but wonder at the advisability of a 48 year old cancer sufferer recovering from chemotherapy, riding a motor-cycle that she proved unable to control when faced with the unexpected. Tragically it was her 52 year old husband, not the elderly car driver, who hit her, killing her. Might he have been travelling too closely behind to not have been able to avoid the collision? Motor-cyclists are all too exposed and vulnerable in accidents, and the skills of middle-aged riders might be questioned. .

I’m sure that there are many elderly drivers whose driving skills are so much not what they were, that we fear to ride with them at the wheel. How we wish they would relinquish their driver licences, yet they stubbornly refuse! But do we need to set an arbitrary age at which they are no longer allowed to drive for the safety of others?

It is said that the devil is always in the detail, which we just do not know, to be able to fairly apportion blame in this case. It follows therefore, that we should pause and consider before always blaming the elderly for the accidents in which they are involved. 





An Easter reminder!

This weekend millions are remembering Jesus Christ’s humiliating and cruel crucifixion death at 33; and most Christians believe, His resurrection just three days later.

In the previous three years he had  taught and demonstrated a way of life based not on self-interest and retaliation  for wrongs, but on love and respect for, and forgiveness of others, even our opponents.

It has been said, His philosophy as illustrated by His patient endurance of adversity in the face of death, has not been “tried and found wanting”, but “found difficult and not tried”.

Human nature is determinedly egocentric. We tend to be also driven by tribal instincts based on our race, class and religion rather than by our consciences.  The slogan is an “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. Unfortunately, a chain of pay-backs may ensue, resulting in an avalanche of human suffering.

Our systems of law and order are ideally based on appropriate and proportional punishment for wrong-doing, but justice is only served when fault is impartially assessed, and fairly administered. Sadly this is not always the case. Verdicts may reflect the biased perceptions of ruling majorities, and their vested interests. Worse still is judgment by kangaroo court. or personal revenge summarily executed.

The global slaughter of the two 20th century wars has now given place in the unfolding 21st century by isolated acts of random terrorism. It is a war waged by those who are willing to sacrifice their own lives for revenge against those they think, or have been brain-washed to think, are their oppressors and untouchable by conventional means.

I would hope that the Easter message of love and mercy might be remembered by us all in these times of tension and hatred.







Please Read! Please Care!

God & Man“For those suffering from depression, the world has fallen apart every day and is put back together the next day.” – Emily Casalena How is a depressed person supposed to act? Who is a depressed person? If you ask the movies, most of them might say a person with depression is an introverted,…

via How Is A Depressed Person Supposed To Behave? — Thought Catalog

I Never Want to Go Into An Old Folks’ Home!

How often have you heard the elderly say this?  On their own and frequently feeling down in spirits, they can barely manage to look after themselves properly from day to day, let alone clean and maintain their home. Then, what would they do in an emergency?  Despite the pleadings of family, they won’t budge. For them, it is a step into the unknown, a loss of independence, and just too difficult to contemplate. Later perhaps!

I had the opportunity several years ago, to inspect with my son several properties on the market in Port Melbourne. One we looked at in a good location (Dank Street) was a deceased estate. It was derelict beyond belief. Most of the floor boards which remained were rotting and unsafe to walk on. It was damp and it stunk. There was no functional kitchen and just a dunny down the back. Much of the fence was falling down, the walls were crumbling and the garden a wilderness,

I imagined the owner still alive, struggling to survive without assistance in filthy and unsafe premises year after year. It was the home he/she knew and loved, and it doubtless held precious memories. Was it his/her choice to continue to live there in squalor? Did he/she not know the monetary value of the house? It sold for over A$900,000! Enough to enjoy real comfort!

The decision to move from one’s own home into a retirement village can be a painful one. But the longer it is left, the harder it becomes. It was a choice my wife and I made a year ago, in our late seventies. Despite all the effort that was involved, it was one we have not regretted, and we have the assurance of knowing that we have the support and continuing care we need as we get older.

I recently came across an article which I think aptly puts the case for the elderly to seriously consider the advantages to them of moving into a retirement complex. I do not know who wrote it, or where it was printed, to attribute credit. Evidently it was printed in a Senior Living Community Newsletter in the United States.

How often  strong and vigorous men, active and gracious women, enter retirement years and use this excuse to postpone the very decision that could liberate them and increase their enjoyment of life.

They’re not ready yet:

  • To live in an attractive and comfortable home without the effort of maintaining it.
  • To be able to forget about mowing the lawns and other tedious household chores.
  • To enjoy the companionship of others with similar desires and expectations.
  • To eliminate worry concerning health, security and transportation.

They’re not ready, in short, to simplify their lives. They wait for some sign, some failing, to justify or even compel a move from the home that’s too big, or chores and possessions which require a great deal of attention.

Sometimes they wait too long.

Sometimes they find they have wasted what could have been some of their better years. Moving to a comprehensive retirement community shouldn’t mean retiring from life, but simplifying life to enjoy new interests and activities, or the old ones there wasn’t enough time for. One doesn’t step into old age by moving to a retirement community, but it opens a new door to an active, dignified and interesting life.

What does a Retirement Village have to offer?

Independence, security, a sense of community, friendships, a place to be private.

 A gift of time to use constructively, and personalized service when needed.

Think about it. What is best for you?