The Mafia and Falling Asleep Anyway

by Laura on October 9, 2013

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Perhaps I’m an adrenaline junkie.

15 months ago, my husband texted me, “I’m working a case involving the mafia.” And I can remember the holy ground that was my bedroom when I read that sentence on my computer screen; it was one of those late nights, after kids were in bed,  just me and Him. I can taste the closeness as I prayed and worshipped and journaled, clinging to words like,

Out of the ashes we rise, into the darkness we shine . . .

And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?

And if our God is with us, then what could stand against?

– Chris Tomlin

And I remember the desperate that propelled me forward, the fear that forced me to cling, the scenarios my imagination spun at 2:30 am when I hadn’t gotten a text in over an hour.

My guy brushing soldiers with the Russian. Mafia.

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But here’s the thing– yesterday I got the same text. “I’m working a case involving the mafia tonight.” And I went on a run on a mountain trail soon after, listened to the same music that had moved me to tears when he was out on missions last year, and . . . nothing. My heart just felt tired, dull, sleepy.

tried to muster that same desperate trust I tasted last year, but all I could gather was slightly-less-numb.

I used to think that living overseas was harder spiritually– what with its extremities of isolation and fear, constant transition and utter discomfort. But, now, living back in the United States for an entire year, I think that living in affluence is much more difficult on a soul. It’s harder, for me at least, to stay awake here in the land of schedules and microwaves and screens. The battlefield feels foggy and distant, and the Kingdom is a vague ideal that I can get around to once at Christmastime or when the kids’ soccer season ends and my calendar frees up.

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And I ran through Colorado woods by myself this morning, in all my anti-climatic-ness. Father to my children asking for children from the mafia– somewhere in Asia. And I longed to go back– back to that place of live-or-die intimacy with this Jesus I was getting to know all over again. Back to those spiritual mountaintops born in the Valleys of Extreme Circumstance. Back to those soul-rich nights where I drank heavy doses of adrenaline, fear, and suffering.

But we don’t always get to be on the front lines. There are seasons when we are called to stay, to do the quiet, to walk the mundane, to practice a “long obedience in the same direction” (Eugene Peterson).

Because the waves might come sometimes and smash me into the Rock of Ages*, but its when the sea is glass and trouble feels distant, that perhaps the real alarms should sound for me.

Because these are the days when adrenaline doesn’t show up, when good intentions pave a quick road to apathy. These are the quiet seasons when even my well-meaning soul can easily be lulled to sleep–

a sleep so deep even threat of the mafia has a hard time rousing.

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Are you in a season of adrenaline-extremism? Or fall-to-sleep mundaneness? Which is harder for you to see and feel God in? 

* “I have learned to kiss the wave that slams me into the Rock of Ages.” – Charles Spurgeon

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In other news, thanks so much to all who bought my book last week on Amazon! We sold nearly 500 copies in three days! If you have read it, I would so appreciate you stopping by and leaving a review of it on Amazon. Thanks, friends!