Sunday, Apr 23, 2017
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Thankful amid my misery

By Mark Azzara

Dear Friend,

I almost didn’t write this letter because I’ve been sick for the entire week, to the point where I slept for the better part of 20 straight hours over Tuesday and Wednesday.

I debated whether to bag this letter completely or to cobble together a letter from notes stored on my computer for future ideas. But then I recalled how blessed I was during the past week, despite my illness.

I had to pile up pillows, cushions and even towels to allow myself to sleep in a semi-sitting position so I wouldn’t cough all night. When I hit that pile on Tuesday night it conformed to my back perfectly. And I thanked God deeply for the comfort that I knew would allow me to sleep long and well that night, and every night since. I also thanked him for the clean, quiet, warm, safe, dry apartment I call home.

I had to go to one market to get a cooked chicken (I had no strength to stand over a stove and prepare dinner) and to another one, for organic chicken stock and a few other essentials. By the time I got home I was so drained that I almost crawled into my apartment. But after eating that meal I felt soooooo good. So relaxed. It had all been worth it. And I thanked God for the healing that the food was already working within me. And I’m still thanking God because that chicken and that stock have fed me for days, without having to spend much time cooking.

I had to scrap everything on my calendar for the entire week, including attendance at two prayer meetings. I had to beg off from hosting a men’s study-group breakfast meeting, volunteering for my usual soup-kitchen shift and working on the clean-up crew for a Christian coffeehouse. But I was thankful that God taught me, in the midst of my bailouts, that I’m not Mr. Indispensable; he is.

I could look back on the preceding seven days as a “lost” week, a week from hell. Or I can look at it as a gift that has enabled me to refocus my perspective away from myself and toward God. I choose the latter. And the next time you hit a bumpy patch, I hope you will do the same.

All God’s blessings – Mark

Mark Azzara

About Mark Azzara

Mark Azzara spent 45 years in print journalism, most of them with the Waterbury Republican in Connecticut, where he was a features writer with a special focus on religion at the time of his retirement. He also worked for newspapers in New Haven and Danbury, Conn. At the latter paper, while sports editor, he won a national first-place writing award on college baseball. Azzara also has served as the only admissions recruiter for a small Catholic college in Connecticut and wrote a self-published book on spirituality, "And So Are You." He is active in his church and a non-denominational prayer community and facilitates two Christian study groups for men. Azzara grew up in southern California, graduating from Cal Sate Los Angeles. He holds a master's degree from the University of Connecticut.

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