Monday, June 25, 2007

seriously. las vegas part 1

okay, so two great friends from journey took me to las vegas last friday. i stayed about 22 hours. i slept about six. the rest of the time, i saw the city that never sleeps, the city i had heard about all my life and had never been to. i have two thoughts about this experience.
the first is, i have such great friends at journey. i have friends with whom i go to lunch, sit and talk, pour out my heart, have supper, play golf, study, sit in quiet, talk about my heart and struggles and lessons, go to men's groups and retreats, talk about marriage and kids and parents and siblings; we worship, pray, argue, bitch, cry, laugh our asses off. and these are men and women with whom i feel safe. seriously. i'm more casual friends with some and more intense friends with others, but it's beautiful all the way around. that's a rare thing in this world, people.
part of the reason for this is because there isn't a lot about me they don't know, and there is a lot about them that i know, and nobody is interested in judging each other - except when we're in our own shadows and don't see it, and then we get over it pretty quickly. there's a low bullshit tolerance quotient at journey. we're just not interested. and we don't put up with gossip or backbiting. we know it's not jesus. so we work very hard not to be in that space. and it's safe that way. i work hard to be vulnerable and honest with these people. i did not grow up in a house with that dynamic and it has taken me a lot of work and attention to get here.
one woman, melinda, who's a scream and honest and real and a hero, said that she was talking to a person who was concerned about journey's doctrines being too - i dunno, nonexistent? liberal? whatever. and melinda cut that person off and said, "we have no dissention in our faith community." it's true. i mean, people have their shit. everyone does. but we're dealing with it in FRONT of each other, for christ's sake. literally for christ's sake. so it doesn't fester much.
if you are wondering whether you are one of the journey friends i am talking about, you are.
where was i.
anyway, the two guys who bought me tickets to vegas and bought my food and gave me gambling money are adorable, funny, very real, very loving people. both heathens big time. in the very, very best sense that makes me feel safe and happy and real. they - and i - would not fit into a nice church. yay.
so, we went to las vegas. we laughed. we played in the casino. i have no gambling skills. i watched cards played. i played penny slot machines. it was a hoot. we stayed up very late, walked around, ate at bellagio, stayed at the mandalay, went to the luxor with the big pyramid, drove up The Strip. told dirty jokes. people watched. smoked cigars. it was wonderful to be with my friends. their generosity and willingness to invite me into their time there was a ridiculously beautiful gift.
another friend wanted to take me snow skiiing this winter and i couldn't go because a journeyer had a hospital thing. i want to go skiing with this friend, not to go skiing, but to spend time with this friend. that's what it's about.
i am grateful.
vegas part 2 discusses a ... different ... part of the experience. let me say this as preview: vegas is plastic.

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