What Doesn’t Stay In Vegas

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Prince Harry has been photographed cavorting nudely in Vegas.

In what appears to be a massive surprise to people everywhere, a powerful, wealthy, 27 year-old prince apparently travels the globe getting his “Zoot” on.

This fails to shock me for two reasons:

1.) I already learned that this happens from the un-watchably awful 2004 romantic comedy “The Prince and Me”.

2.) This really seems to be what the un-wealthy and average are also traveling to Vegas for, regardless of age.

Las Vegas loved our colloquial adage “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” so much that they began using it in tourist advertisements in the mid 2000’s.

The Las Vegas Visitors Bureau didn’t coin the phrase, they just began using it to officially invite people to come do what so many people had been doing there since Dean and Sammy hopped their first flight to hang with Frank.

The only problem with the motto is that what happens in Vegas never actually stays in Vegas… And I’m not talking about the loss of “privacy” that comes with smart-phone cameras.

We don’t actually go to Vegas and do wicked things in a vacuum any more than we do them in the privacy of our own homes do we?

Those private places merely create the illusion of secrecy; because ultimately WE know what we’ve done, where we’ve done it, and who we’ve done it with.

Doing these things in a place that no one who knows us can see it being done doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen, and it also doesn’t mean that there won’t be consequences.

Believing that there are unholy places where we are safe to do unholy things is as foolish as burying our head in the sand to hide from ourselves.

It’s just as absurd as believing that there are Holy things that are only to be done in Holy places.

Praying at home is as valid as praying at church, in the same way that cursing at church is no more wrong than cursing at home.  While the consequences may be different, the action is the same.

What we do flows out of who we are, and we are who we are regardless of where we are.  Geography is merely an indicator of appropriateness:  Cheating on my wife in a casino hotel is the same level of wrong as it is in my own home.

Tramping it up in Vegas only seems less bad, because we don’t think it will affect our reputation at home.

Whether we admit it or not, we are fully integrated people who live lives that are interconnected to God, and one another in ways that we fail to understand…

…which is why try so hard to create boxes and compartments for our behavior.

We believe we can segregate ourselves away from our bad behaviors, leaving them in a place that we can walk away from…

…and safely return to whenever we choose.

The problem with this line of thinking is that we trick ourselves into believing that the problem is merely found in our behavior. We believe that if we can separate ourselves from our behavior, and the consequences, then we’ve escaped the burden of responsibility that comes with them.

But some things don’t stay behind in Vegas do they?

Addictions

Arrest Records

Bar tabs

Black Eyes

Hangovers

Bankruptcy

Syphilis

Shame

Regret

None of these things are restricted by geographic boundaries are they?

Sadly we aren’t much different that the prince are we? The biggest difference between us seems to be his ability to travel further and party harder than we can.

This week we simply learned what Harry already knew about himself, regardless of whether or not he was ever going to admit it.

Let’s not use that as an excuse to ignore what’s truly going on inside our own hearts.

Prince Harry likes to party with stars and avail himself of the women that power and status can deliver. His time spent in Vegas was time spent taking advantage of youth and beauty at the expense of character and reputation.

It’s something we all fall prey to every time we believe that there are times, places, or reasons, that our indiscretions won’t actually be tallied against us.

The things we do never stay behind in a place, because they come from inside our hearts and trail behind us like a jury clamoring for a conviction.

Even if no one else ever sees the photos.

From the depths of despair, O Lord,

    I call for your help.

 Hear my cry, O Lord.

    Pay attention to my prayer.

 Lord, if you kept a record of our sins,

    who, O Lord, could ever survive?

 But you offer forgiveness,

    that we might learn to fear you.

Psalm 130:1-4

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