Soon after my husband Brent and I were married, my in-laws treated us to a trip to California. We toured the coast and visited all kinds of amazing, glamorous places.
One of my favorite memories was a tour of Hearst Castle in San Simeon. It’s a beautiful palace built over several years during the first half of the 20th century by a wealthy newspaperman named William Randolph Hearst.
Every inch of the “castle” was dripping with over-the-top grandeur. Driving up to the estate, we were even greeted by zebras grazing in the fields nearby. There were turrets and ornate vaulted ceilings and a dining room table fit for a king and his 20 best friends. It was almost too much for us broke newlyweds to take in.
The four of us were joined by a host of other tourists as we followed a tour guide in and out of many rooms (though not all—there are 56 bedrooms) and through various parts of the grounds.
When we came to the Roman Pool (an indoor swimming pool), I was left speechless. Millions of tiny blue, orange, and gold tiles covered nearly every surface. The water from the pool reflected the blue tiles in an infinite echo of serenity and brilliance. To drive home the ancient Rome theme, there were statues of Roman gods and goddesses placed along the edge of the pool. It was stunning.
Not everyone in our group shared my opinion. A fellow tourist, a man in cargo shorts and a white, sleeveless t-shirt, held his camcorder aloft his shoulder, narrating his videography.
“Indoor swimming pool,” he droned, sarcastically. “Whoop-de-doo.” He was unimpressed.
Brent and I thought this was enormously funny. During Hearst’s lifetime, this guy probably wouldn’t have been allowed to clean the pool, let alone take a guided tour through it, and yet there he was, belittling the beauty and splendor of this place.
I told my 11-year old son that story just the other day and it got me thinking: How often do I devalue the miraculous and the splendid with no other excuse than my own self-centered ignorance?
When was the last time I really appreciated a sunset? They happen every day but how often do I stop and take note of them? Especially those cloudy evenings when the streaks and smudges made by the clouds are lit up by the sun’s dying rays and magnified in brilliant pinks and purples and oranges.
How long has it been since I held a tiny baby? Wrinkled fingers and toes. Paper-thin eyelids. Infant yawns and sleepy grins. Like all of us, this child began from something microscopic. What’s more miraculous than that?
Lord, let my “whoop-de-doo” moments be sincere and frequent. Thank you for all of the changing seasons but especially springtime with its feats of beauty around every corner. Help me to stop and enjoy your everyday magnificent displays!