Recently I was blessed to experience two kinds of beauty; two kinds of creation of sorts. I have always been fascinated with comparing creations of man to true creation, the world around us that God created. I had the unique experience of one day being in and surrounded by a stellar example of man’s creation and then a day or so later being out in a place so undeniably beautiful there was no comparison.
My husband and I had been trying for years to have a get away weekend around our birthdays because they are exactly a week apart. This past year we finally succeeded and Hearst Castle was our destination. We chose an evening tour and sat in a bus winding our way toward the castle surrounded by heavy fog. It was really neat but there was definitely no opportunity to take in the landscape surrounding the Castle or “Ranch” as Mr. Hearst like to call it. As you walk in and out of the different areas of the castle there are objects of beauty one on top of another. They were all created at different times and in different places. While I admire it and it was quite fascinating to see it all, a few thoughts came to mind. The ostentatious display of wealth was unavoidable and overpowering. Mr. Hearst clearly needed to display his wealth and power through his possessions.There were so many religious pieces I wondered if he was trying to prove his devotion to God by the unending artifacts. He displayed them despite the fact he lived here with his mistress for more years than he did his wife. As you walked through on the tour it all becomes heavy instead of beautiful. I was also struck by the fact that this was created and filled in one of this countries deepest times of deprivation The Great Depression. I did find Hearst Castle incredible and beautiful on it’s own merits but it cannot in my opinion compare with what you find when you step into a castle created by God that anyone can enter and enjoy at any moment no matter their current circumstances.
Just hours away from this man made sanctuary is a true sanctuary of beauty. Incomprehensible beauty you could see again and again. You would never be able to get enough and you would never be burdened or bored. Yosemite is an amazing place! It brings peace and release to the soul. You can go from corridor to corridor and never get bored of the story God is telling. You could see scenes again and again and never feel weighed down by what surrounds you. You never find yourself going ugh more of this.
As I reflect on all of this I am struck by what fascinates me.It is not as if I am not intrigued by what man has made, I am. I always find myself intrigued and wondering what did they build and why did they build it. But when I get there I am always left empty especially when the purpose was to glorify themselves. Hearst claimed or wanted “The Ranch” to be a retreat so ostensibly to benefit others but that is not what comes across. On the tour you learn he was constantly building even when he was going bankrupt . He was clearly seeking something and never finding it when all he had to do was step outside and find peace for his soul in the castle of God created all around him.
More and more we are being enticed to stay indoors, slowly, in a fashion we don’t readily recognize. There is peace outside our doors and off of our screens. It is amazing how much we, as people seek what is right outside their door. “Of books (blog posts and social media sites) there is no end”. Even I who love and deeply feel peace and strength when I engage in the castle and creation of God get caught and become enslaved. I run in and out of the house, to and fro never noticing or really taking in the peace that surrounds me, the freedom He created for us! We can try to create our own peace but it is never the same and it never satisfies. So step outside today and just be, soak in what He freely gives that you don’t have to create. It is there even in the city.