I was feeling pretty good on Sunday. After church, I said, let's head north... so we did. A spontaneous adventure. We live relatively close to Hearst Castle, but we hadn't been since our honeymoon eighteen years ago. Scurrying, we caught the last bus for the six mile ride up the winding hillside, overlooking the sparkling blue Pacific.
We were greeted by the familiar edifices I remembered. The ornate construction. The European influences. The extraordinary architecture. Relics of old mixed with modern conveniences.
Each space superbly engineered. Attention to every last detail. A marvel, really, to consider how these artifacts and raw materials were transported to this remote location to create a modern day palace.
Foliage entwined with concrete and tile. Details reaching even beneath the eaves.
The indoor Roman pool completely covered in mosaic tiles. Gold leaf accenting the cobalt blues.
The stunning Neptune pool, surrounded by colonnades, beckons even the fully clothed swimmer.
There were many important and influential women in William Randolph Hearst's life. His mother, who inspired his love of European architecture and antiquities through a grand tour of Europe. His wife, Millicent. Their honeymoon inspired the desire to publish his first magazine, starting his media empire. She also gave him the legacy of 5 children. Marion Davies, his girlfriend (bummer), who was perhaps his muse.
But the relationship that truly intrigues me is that with Julia Morgan, the master architect, who partnered with Hearst for 28 years to build the elaborate buildings and grounds known today as Hearst Castle. I can scarcely imagine the degree of commitment and ingenuity it must have taken for the two of them to pull off such an incredible dream, leaving behind them a legacy of dedication and beauty for the world to enjoy.
While I have never had the desire (or talent or resources- ha!) to build something of such grandeur, I want to build my own home with such deliberation and care.
"The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down."
Although my physical house will never boast such affluence, the home I'm building can exemplify so much of God's riches. Towers of praise-filled prayers, exalting His name. Choice words like golden apples that build my family up. A place to refresh and feel renewal, like the cool, shining waters of the Neptune pool. Comforting arms, instead of rich, velvet chairs. Peace-filled conversations, like beautifully appointed gardens.
That type of building takes years and years of dedication and commitment, too. It takes the partnership of two people, who are willing to see a purpose bigger than themselves, who are willing to overcome obstacles along the way, to gracefully wade through the mundane, and to keep working toward what would seem impossible this side of heaven. Morgan and Hearst ended up redoing the outdoor pool three times before they were satisfied with the scale and ultimate resulting beauty and function. Sometimes it is necessary to do that to, too... to return to a solid foundation and rebuild firm and true.
Ultimately, I want God to be the master architect of my home. I want to draw from His beauty, wealth, depth, and creativity.
I know that what He establishes will last.