By Mark Azzara
Labor Day marks the end of “summer.” Time to think of cooler temperatures, kids going back to school, Halloween, Thanksgiving. We cling to these habitual thought patterns and behaviors — illusions, really — because they lull us into believing we are in control. I spent my summer among the rural poor, who control nothing. For example, the state health and human services office in the largest town in the county where I lived will close soon, forcing the elderly and needy to drive 60 miles to get services — if they have a car (that works), can afford gas, can (still) drive, and can deal with winding snow- and ice-covered roads. As more and more money flows into the hands of fewer and fewer people, more and more of us get closer and closer to poverty. But my summer among the poor taught me that material poverty is just one part of being poor. What else would make someone poor? Think about it. Seriously! Then examine whether you are “poor” (and thus not in control) by that standard.
All God’s blessings – Mark
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 facilitates two Christian study groups for men. Azzara grew up in southern California, graduating from Cal State Los Angeles. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Connecticut.