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God forbid I should relax

Flickr photo of relaxing by Dimitar Nikolov

God forbid I should relax


By Mark Azzara

Dear Friend,

Did you ever have one of those weekends that you just frittered away, not really doing anything meaningful and feeling you accomplished nothing? That was my weekend.

With so many things to do on my chore list, I was really feeling guilty about my lack of purpose. But I think the Lord was saying: Put your feet up and relax. You don’t have to be busy all the time!

That was unusual for me to hear and even harder to obey. God was empowering me to love myself. And I didn’t like it.

I am your typical task-oriented male and without a task, I feel purposeless, even worthless. That may be the point of this past weekend. God needed to assure me that my feelings amounted to a lie I was telling myself. A lie I had to recant, no matter how uncomfortable it made me feel.

The day will come, sooner rather than later, when I won’t be “productive” as the world defines that term. As I age – and I’m already in my 70s – I have to accept the fact I can’t do what I once did. I have to learn to accept the reality of aging rather than to pretend it doesn’t apply to me.

I haven’t really had a vacation this year and my body is screaming for some relief but I don’t know how to provide it. My friend summed it up best several years ago when he told me, “You don’t know how to relax.”

I am learning that relaxing is an art and a skill that I must work at. I debated whether to attend a small-town volunteer fire department fair this weekend. Nah, too hot. So I took a nap instead. But I plan to attend a much larger county fair this coming weekend if the weather is cool enough.

I still have a long list of chores to accomplish. But they can wait. I look forward to some of these chores as potentially fun-filled activities but I think that’s why God had me chill out this weekend. I don’t want to tackle those jobs as if they are burdens. That just takes the fun out of it. And if I do that then life – all of it – becomes a burden, which is not what God intends.

All God’s Blessings,


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 State Los Angeles. He holds a master's degree from the University of Connecticut.

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