I read last week about a woman named Huguette Clark whose life is very much of a mystery.
Now aged 103, Miss Clark is likely a billionaire – although no-one outside of her very, very small circle of friends knows for sure. Her father was Senator William A. Clark, a self-made millionaire who became possibly the second richest man in America and who died in 1925, aged 86. Miss Clark eventually inherited much of his fortune, it seems, but slipped quietly out of the public eye in the 1930’s and has not been seen or heard from much ever since.
What is known is that she owns an 15,000 sqft apartment on Fifth Avenue in New York City, worth $100 million which she has only been to a few times in the last thirty years, a country estate in Santa Barbara, CA also worth at least $100 million, which has been empty since 1963 and a 52 acre estate with a 12,776 sqft house in New Caanan, CT which she purchased in 1952 and has never even spent a night in.
It is believed she is now living in a’drab’ hospital but only her lawyer seems to know for sure and he’s not giving anything away.
The story fascinated me because of the vast wealth she was given and the way she seems to have pretty much ignored it for the last fifty years.
It seems a terrible waste. There is so much good that she could do with all that money, land and power but she chooses to just ignore it.
As I was thinking about that, I realised that I too have been given great wealth, greater even than Miss Clark received – and I ignore it most of the time too.
I’ve been given the gift of eternal life, of freedom from sin and bondage, of victory over death and the grave, of a on-on-one relationship with the creator of the universe and what do I do with it?
I throw up a quick prayer every night, read my bible (occasionally) talk about spiritual stuff when people push me into it and maybe attend a church service every Sunday.
Gee, that’s a good use of the greatest gift ever given.
What also caught my attention was the fact that Huguette Clarke has been paying for maintenance and staff on all of her properties. They are all, apparently, in immaculate condition, looking as if the owners had just gone away for the weekend. They’re clean and pretty with perfectly manicured lawns and well kept flower beds. They look perfect – but they’re unused.
How much am I like that? I keep everything looking nice but in reality is it all just an empty facade? Do I tend to the gardens, clean the windows and sweep the floors but never allow anyone in, never share what I have?
Do I just ignore my wealth.
… and while we’re on the subject, do you?