I recently returned from a trip to Las Vegas, a city quite glitzy compared to home in West Texas, where the lights go out and the sidewalks roll up at 8 PM. Our team did one of our dream interpretation reach-outs in an ‘adult entertainment’ arena—we spoke to porn stars and their ‘managers’ about their dreams and other facets of life. More thoughts on that another time . . .
What struck me over and over during our trip was the continual contrast between ‘real’ and ‘counterfeit’.
Often, the distinction wasn’t immediately apparent, especially in Las Vegas. Lights were always flashy so you couldn’t tell night from day. The casinos were always humming, even at early morning. Wild costumes and accentuated, super-sized body parts triggered camera-flash fireworks. Actors, stunningly beautiful wax figures, and celebrity ‘look-alikes’ stopped traffic, causing double-takes, provoking second glances.
The boundaries between inside and outside became blurry, as sidewalks seemed to snake in and out of hotels, casinos, and shopping malls. At one point I was tired because we were walking a lot. As we stepped outside, I looked up and saw the most beautiful, cloud-filled sky, with sunset just starting. Upon closer scrutiny, though, I realized it was a cleverly painted ceiling in a huge mall. I started asking myself, ‘What day is it? What time is it, really? Is this a dream?”
The next day, we stepped outside and I saw a sunset so stunning, it took my breath away. I asked my friend Amy, “Is THAT sunset real?” I felt the blast of fresh, cold air, and I knew we were truly outside and that I was seeing the original sky.
The parts of Las Vegas that we experienced were disorienting—most of it by deliberate design. Continual sensory overload can cause a lost sense of time, focus, and one’s spent money. An incessant barrage of PHONY blurs the mind so that people may more easily step outside their normal routines and ‘live large’ during their stay. Because the message rings everywhere, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”.
You don’t have to go to Vegas to experience this phenomenon. You can park yourself in front of TV news for a couple of hours and come to believe there is nothing but violence and deceit in this world. You can spend a day in a doctor’s office and conclude that everyone is sick, or you can hang out with religious legalistic people and decide that God is mean and judgmental.
If we don’t know WHO we are and what our purpose in life is, our environment can distract or derail us from daily contentment that comes from living our destiny.
Do you know your purpose in life? How do you determine truth vs cheap knockoff? What keeps you grounded? Is there anything you spend time focusing on that may not be ‘real’ and has potential to keep you from moving forward in a healthy way?
Periodic escape and broadening our horizons hold great value to stretch us and enrich our lives. But ultimately, no matter where we go, there we are.
So, who ARE you, really?
Real vs Counterfeit