Lessons from Las Vegas
In all honesty, Vegas has never been a destination of choice. But we found ourselves headed there this past weekend to celebrate a special birthday, and it was a wonderful celebration. 
We had one day to explore the “strip”, about ten minute walk from our hotel. We did a lot of walking! In afterthought I wished we had a guide, for I was sorry we missed the beautiful gardens at the Bellagio, and I’m sure there were other places of interest. 
The fountains there, set to music, were lovely. We also explored the mile long mall, all indoors, but covered with a sky coloured dome, we felt we were outdoors in Europe. It was fun to eat there, in an “outdoor” patio. 

My friends who know me well seemed concerned (or not!) that I would be drawn into the life of gambling, but I am not that easily departed from my money!

I am an observer of life and this was an interesting place to watch. A lot to take in. It was loud. It was bright.  And at times it was lewd. This comes from a girl who loves quiet and serenity.  
My heart went out to the poor, and we saw several sleeping in corners, in the light of day. I wondered about their stories. 
There was lots of traffic, people walking, six lanes of vehicles. That evening, a truck with a trailer bearing large banners added to the noise, telling people to repent. A big cross was on the back. Messages saying this is wrong, that is wrong, were written boldly on its side, and loudspeakers telling their message added to the noise of the city. 
I found myself ashamed and and dismayed,  I, who identify with Christ, could not identify or condone this kind of judgement. It seems to me that Jesus would approach things somewhat differently… he would listen to people’s stories, he would meet the real inner needs of longing. 
We all have longings, and the bright attractions of Vegas can be a fun escape for those who enjoy it. We heard lots of laughter. 
Two words came to us in my observations… my hubby and I talked about the word excess… and it seemed to fit. Living excessively seems to be Vegas style, for many who visit there. 
Another more positive word was connection, and that was the real reason we came. We met relatives of my hubby’s family we had never met before, we shared stories, we celebrated 80 years of life for Ron who has overcome many difficulties in living with diabetes for 57 of those years.  He is an overcomer and lives life positively, even with daily physical challenges. This is an inspiration. 
One of the biggest lessons I have been learning in the last few years is to live a life with a heart open, to live with compassion. When I am out of my comfort zone, this doesn’t always come easily, but it is good to be reminded of that. When I gazed into the sky, I saw the beautiful moon, light from our Creator. I love the verses that speak of Gods Presence wherever we go, and yes, I experienced this, thankful for the blessings of life, even in Vegas!  

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