(iPhone self portrait)
If there's one thing that will reveal a person's heart, it's a night spent in Las Vegas.
Luke and I drove the eleven hours down to Vegas las Friday, got checked into our hotel, and then spent hours walking the Strip. I enjoyed the sights - for a people watcher like me, the place is a gold mine! And the architecture is certainly interesting. And holy moley....the shopping. I just had to go peek at the jewels in the windows. I'd never seen a watch with a price tag of $65,000 until last weekend!
I wish I could say I appreciated it's beauty, but really? It looked like...a watch.
And the beautiful shops with the mannequins draped in the latest high fashions. Cool to see, but a little confusing to this small town girl at heart...really...THAT'S fashionable? And here I thought clothes was supposed to be flattering...to accent the woman's natural beauty, not make her look like a walking talking freak show with more money to spend than brains. Just sayin'.
I loved the water/lights/music show at the Bellagio (sp??), and we enjoyed a dinner tucked into a soft-cushioned booth with the delicious smell of jasmine floating across our table every time the door was opened.
Speaking of more money than brains...yours truly and her wise and frugal man paid $45 for scrambled eggs and pancakes for breakfast. Crazy!
It was an experience that I truly enjoyed - strolling the famous Strip with my fingers laced between my man's. With all the skin and suggestion that Luke was confronted with every 5 seconds, I felt without a doubt that he had eyes only for little old boring me. I'm a lucky girl.
We were ready to turn in for the night, when we walked past the Ghirardelli store. We decided that we MUST stop for an ice cream sunday topped with their famous chocolate. We were settled into our little booth and enjoying our treat, when something caught Luke's eye. We were sitting by a glass side door...two young women tapped on the door, pointed and smiled at my husband, and proceeded to give him his own little strip tease.
Something primal in me rose up and made me want to go punch those girls in their perky little noses. I might have if it wouldn't have meant leaving perfectly good chocolate sitting on the table.
Luke was good enough to look away and joke about it ("I can just hear them now. They'll wake up in the morning with a hangover and laugh about what they just did. They'll say 'remember when I danced for that old guy in the chocolate shop?!'"). He doesn't give himself nearly enough credit.
But Vegas was more than an interesting tourist stop for me. It was eye opening to me in more ways than the superficial ways I just told you about. In the middle of all those people, I felt a little...lonely...different.
I'm not the first to note what the place is really about. Someone before me called it "Sin City" for the first time, and the title stuck for a good reason.
That's what I saw in those searching eyes. So many young and hopeful people...searching...seeking...looking for something, and I'm not sure they even know what it is.
I felt like stopping people with that look and saying, "I have it! I know what you're looking for! You can have it too!"
At one point, I was stopped in my tracks. I just had to stop and look at listen. There was one lone corner where people stood silently and held signs that said "Jesus loves you". The crowds of people either rolled their eyes, ignored them, or flat out pointed and snickered (the average tourist was more appreciative and approving of the section of the same block that was filled with people dressed in various character costumes so the tourists could have their photos with "Elvis" or "Marilyn" or "Darth"...like two young girls who looked to be about 15 dressed as playboy bunnies.)
All I could think was "What is wrong with me that THESE sign-holding people feel more real...more like home to me than anything else in this crazy place? Am I some sort of freak?"
Yes. I am. I'm a freak.
I've had an uneasy feeling ever since. Lonely. Different.
It was the first time I had a chance to really see the changes that have happened in me since I asked Jesus to save me and to change me and to lead me - the first time I've really left my little safe haven that's filled with prayer and worship music and the Word. He's done some serious work in me, and I didn't even know!
With this realization, I have a choice to make. I can sit in this uneasy and lonely place and feel sad. I can mourn the old me. Or, I can rejoice for the changes in me.
I'm choosing to rejoice.
God Himself has set me apart for Himself, and I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be.