On the flight back from Vegas we sat next to a very chatty man whose very first question was “win anything?” I smiled and then told him that we actually hadn’t gambled at all while there. Taken aback he asked if we at least had a couple of good drinks. I laughed this time and told him that we actually hadn’t had any alcohol while in Vegas either. His eyes bugged out a little and he started taking us in again. I think he was briefly wondering if we could be very secular Amish people (I mean, Christopher’s beard is pretty beast these days). ;) We told him that we weren’t against drinking or gambling, but that we just got busy with site seeing that we didn’t even realize that we were forgetting to partake in two of Vegas’s favorite past times. Eventually our seat buddy’s shock wore off and we continued chatting about other things throughout the flight.
We didn’t go to Vegas planning not to drink or gamble. But we also didn’t go to Vegas in order to do those things. We have Tunica just south of us if we want to hit up a casino. There was just SO much that we wanted to do and see while we were in Vegas that we didn’t want to “waste” time in front of a slot machine.
I want to be clear: I have no issue with drinking (as long as the person doing it is 21 years old and not getting behind the wheel of a car). Personally, I don’t drink alcohol regularly and I’ve never been drunk or buzzed or light headed from drinking. I don’t say this to imply that I am superior to anyone else because I’m most definitely not. It’s just a personal choice I made a long time ago. I have the hardest time controlling the words that come out of my mouth sometimes (not bad things, just ridiculous oversharing usually, haha!) without the help of alcohol that the idea of being any more out of control of my words is not okay with me.
And I have no issue with gambling. To me it’s just entertainment. Christopher and I spend $20 to go see a movie in the theater. So for us to spend $20 on penny slots at a casino for an evening of fun seems totally reasonable.
But it’s the excess. The inability to practice self control. The lack of moderation. There is so much excess in the American culture. This is my issue with not only drinking and gambling, but so many other things. We seem to be lacking self control in this culture where we live. We eat and eat. We spend and spend. This is something that I already know about the American culture (because my, oh my, I had a hard time with reverse culture shock when I first moved here), but Vegas was such an amplified version of this. So much excess.
One afternoon in Vegas we heard a 20-something guy in passing talking to his friend and telling him that he didn’t understand how he could be in Vegas and still feel so lonely. I’m not one to hit someone over the head with the Bible, but I so wanted to reach for that young man’s hand and tell him about Jesus and the hope and peace that come with Him. And looking back, maybe I should have.
Excess doesn’t bring true fulfillment. Having everything that we think we want, doesn’t bring joy. Being surrounded by all the glitz and glamour of this world, doesn’t make the hurts of this life go away.
Don’t get me wrong, Vegas was so much fun to visit! We’re glad we went and got to see one of those most iconic places in the USA. But it definitely brought up a lot of conversations for Christopher and I as we processed everything we saw. It reminded us that we don’t want to live in excess. That we want to be good stewards of what we have. And that we want to bless others around us.
I don’t want to come across as judgmental because truly that isn’t my intention (or even my place). We genuinely did have a great time in Vegas. This post is just me trying to sift through the thoughts and conversations Christopher and I have had since our trip. :) Hope you guys have a stellar weekend!