Monday, September 26, 2011

Leaving Las Vegas

As some of you may know my husband and I recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. I was allowed to choose where we went on our anniversary trip and I chose Las Vegas.
Now, I know some of you may be thinking that was an odd choice for me to make.
I have dreamed for years of seeing the Grand Canyon. So, I thought, for some reason, that Las Vegas was very close to the Grand Canyon.
It is a lot closer than I am sitting in my living room right now, but not as close as I thought.
But, off to Vegas we went. We stayed at the lovely Venetian Hotel (Casino) and took in a couple of shows during our stay.
But the highlight of the whole trip for me was the time we spent exploring the area in our rental car (my husband rented a convertible, which was a wonderful experience, but left me cooked).
We ventured out to Red Rock Canyon and found a neat little "Old West" re-enactment town. I had no idea they had wild burros! They were everywhere!
We also made it to Hoover Dam that same day which was a sight to see!
Then we got up early the next morning and headed to the Grand Canyon. It was a great drive over and I cannot even begin to explain how affected I was by the sight of the canyon itself.
I don't see how anyone can doubt the greatness of God when standing at the edge of something so magnificent.
You know, Las Vegas itself is an interesting city. It definitely lives up to its nickname of "Sin City." Since prostitution is legal in the city guys stand on the street passing out cards telling you how to get girls "2 for $99."
Maybe its mean of me, but I took great pleasure in making those guys make eye contact with me and seeing how long they could hold contact before they looked away. For SOME reason, they usually did not try to pass us a card. hahahaha
Las Vegas is lush, brimming with every indulgence that you could possibly desire. Everything there is larger than life and attractive, pleasing to the eye.
The lights flash, the fountains spray, the fire shoots out of the fake volcanoes. You can be lured in to anything that you would desire to do. Everywhere you look, there is beauty and opulence.
Until you drive outside of the city, just a very short distance.
Surrounding this luscious "paradise" is a land so barren that you would be want for just a small spot of shade as Jonah was.
There are bushes in some areas, but no real trees, no grass, only dirt.
Because, you see Las Vegas for all of its supposed riches is sitting in the middle of a desert.
A dry, barren desert.
When you fly in and out of Las Vegas it almost seems like you are looking at the surface of Mars.
And sitting out in the middle of all of this is "Sin City."
I love to watch people. It seems to me that it is not only pockets that are empty in Las Vegas. I saw a lot of empty souls. And as many times I we had to pass the casino floor to get from one place to the other in the hotel I never once heard someone cry out from joy as they won the big prize.
My husband made an astute comment while we were there. He said, "Look around you. This place wasn't built because people were winning."
Las Vegas is beautiful, but it is a beautiful facade. They have a fake Eiffel Tower, a fake Venetian Canal, a fake New York skyline......only imitations of the real things.
"What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" may sound like a good slogan to entice you to lose your inhibitions and let it all hang out since no one will "tell" on you later.
But even if no one ever tells, you know. And regret can be as dry and as barren as a desert when you are trying to escape it.
And although Vegas was fun, it wasn't a comfortable place for me. It was a place that sells sin. I have learned the hard way what a high price sin can have on my life. And I don't think the people of Las Vegas were very comfortable with me either. But, that's OK.
When I left Las Vegas behind I left with some fond memories, some great mementos, and a ton of pictures.....but no regrets.
I am thankful today for Your unchanging hand, Your protection and the sweetness of living this beautiful life. I wouldn't trade You for silver or gold.

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