I was walking Tommy up and down the Las Vegas strip in his umbrella stroller. Hauling a diaper bag and a few M&M World gift bags, sporting a getting-bigish pregnant belly. We were determined to have some fun during Robert’s accounting conference. And despite the heat (100+!) and the smell (cigarettes and BO) and the loud music, we did manage to make friends with a dragon and try a lot of Hershey and M&M candy.
I was expecting the foul smells, the hot air, the almost-naked ladies posing for pictures with tourists, the big lights and fantastic buildings, alcohol and slot machines. What I wasn’t expecting was the amazing sense of purpose I felt for my life while visiting this strange city. While I wasn’t the ONLY one pushing around a stroller, I was close to the only one. And the sight of Thomas brought a smile to every person’s face that we saw in an elevator, waiting in line, waiting at the crosswalk. And I mean a genuine, childlike, grin. We heard many stories of “ours are 18 and 20 now!” or “I remember those days,” or “If mine look like him I’ll have 10!” Here we were in the “city of fun,” and the most genuine smiles I saw were on the faces of those who looked at my child.
I looked at everyone around me in the city—there to have a good time—to go out to eat, to spend some time at the black jack tables or slot machines, see some (dirty!) shows, and have a few drinks. I looked at so many glamorous people living/working on the strip that were just looking for the next “good time.” I saw young men dressing up in superhero costumes and asking for tips from every picture or interaction, so obviously trying to find a way to make enough money to go have a good time. I looked at everyone having a good time in the city, and thought they all looked so…lost.
I have never felt so much purpose for my life than while walking that strip. I had no makeup on, looked kind of frumpy in my ill-fitting clothes, and had to constantly find a way to entertain Thomas whenever we had to wait in line. Instead of going to see a Broadway show or glamming up, or going shopping or doing something for myself, we went to look at the ducks; we spent LOTS of time looking at the dragon that growled; I spent an hour catching Tommy as he jumped into the pool. Boy, we really stuck out (especially Tommy’s high-pitched, enthusiastic little voice). And I have never been gladder. I have a Purpose in my life—and it is a real, and powerful Purpose. Although there are many other purposes in my life, my children and role as a mother is the most important and overarching I could imagine. My purpose is so much more than to have a “good time.” Working hard and making a sacrifice for something that really matters is what real fun is. My purpose is to teach my children what real fun is, and that they have a Purpose so that they don’t have to be always looking for the next “good time” Las Vegas style.
In Las Vegas, my Purpose shone brighter than I ever noticed it before. I think it may have been the first time that it really struck me what an absolute blessing dedicating life to family can be. Maybe because it was against a backdrop of so many who seemed without Purpose. Against a city thriving on the lost.
I felt strong and confident walking down the Strip with my stroller and frumpy clothes and Divine Purpose.