Was not the first,
Nor was he the last
And ultimately vacate
A beautiful space,
And way less proud
Due to my mom-in-law’s weekly volunteer service at Hearst Castle, she is able to take several guests swimming in the Neptune Pool annually. Yep. Pretty cool. The young man above would be her grandson, our youngest child, clearly enjoying his evening at William Randolph’s.
I too enjoyed my trip and marveled over and over at the extravagance we were enjoying without paying a dime. I paddled about with the other guests in the sparkling cold water, enjoying the tile mosaics and marble statues. We piled back in the bus after a few hours and made our way back down to reality.
You can’t help but wonder what Mr. Hearst would say if he saw all of us non-celebrities and not-so-elites with our swim noodles and Costco swimsuits making ourselves at home in his castle-yard. But, the point that was made crystal clear that night was, he wasn’t there. We were.
Mr. Hearst amassed many treasures in his time on this earth, but here they sit for others to enjoy. All evening, my mind kept grasping at the tail end of a reality-check passage in Psalms that speaks to the temporary-guest status we all share on planet earth, even the most privileged. Later, I found the verses I had been chasing:
New International Version (NIV)
16 Do not be overawed when others grow rich,
when the splendor of their houses increases;
17 for they will take nothing with them when they die,
their splendor will not descend with them.
18 Though while they live they count themselves blessed—
and people praise you when you prosper—
19 they will join those who have gone before them,
who will never again see the light of life.
No, Mr. Hearst wasn’t the first and certainly wasn’t the last, to build an empire he could not maintain indefinitely. I thank him for the wonderful evening, and while we didn’t enjoy a meal at the mansion, I left with much food for thought.kpeterson