Labor Day – 30 Years Later…

Today is Labor Day, 2012. Admittedly, it is the time of year that summer traditionally starts to wind down and kids get back in the groove of attending school. There is the slightest hint of fall in the air and within a month, the leaves will be turning colors, the smell of smoke will be in the air and we’ll start seeing the signs of Halloween; and then the rest of the holiday season will begin. It’s too soon for summer to be over, I know, and it’s difficult to believe that most of the swimming pools are being closed this week after the last hooray this past week-end. But time marches on… and that’s what I am thinking about this Labor Day evening.

I know that it is customary for me to write about all the facts of the various holidays as we roll through the year – for example, Labor Day was created to celebrate the social and economic achievements of the working people of the country. But I want to discuss another part of work that has a far more personal Labor Day connection to me. Because it was 30 years ago Tuesday that I moved to Indiana and began working for a company that was being funded by the Lilly Endowment, one of the largest non-profits in the country at that time. Notice that I said “I” moved here – that’s because Janet and the kids didn’t move here until October 24, 1982 – which happened to be the week-end before Halloween that year.

I actually lived in a hotel across the street from the Lilly Endowment on north Meridian Street, and I can remember the room, #1231, that I stayed during my six weeks or so in the city before Janet and the kids arrived. By the way, they were young back then – Kristin was 7, Jill was 4 and Andrew had just turned 1. I remember being lonely in the that hotel room, and I spent a ton of time in the office on the 4th floor of 1 N. Capitol in downtown Indy. I was the Executive Director and my corner office overlooked the state capitol and the Governor’s office. It was heady stuff for a guy who was 29 years old.

My job was to help promote Indianapolis as a center for entrepreneurship and indeed, the city has moved a long way in the thirty years our family has lived here. There’s a part of me that would like to claim some credit, but that wouldn’t be correct. Because I only worked with the non-profit for a short time before I started my own business. I guess I just couldn’t make the transition to working for someone else.

Later that year, I even consulted for the State Department and the Reagan White House – I worked with the White House Office on Small Business Initiatives. It was great experience and proved to me once and for all that I wasn’t cut out in any way, shape or form for government work. I even did some work with the Prime Minister from Belize, a Central American country that used to be British Honduras. I attended a party in their embassy and even met Francis Ford Coppola that evening, as he was a good friend of the government officials from Belize. I even found out that he had been allowed to blow up the airport in Belize City for his movie “Apocalypse Now” that was released in 1979 – Coppola got a great scene for his move, and Belize got a new airport…

I also worked with business leaders, governors and other state officials, Cabinet Secretaries and a host dignitaries, including members of Congress. And you know what? I didn’t like it a bit. I just wasn’t wired that way. I much preferred the business world and now, even more than that, I really enjoy helping other through ministry efforts and my consulting company – assisting women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

I no longer overlook the governor’s office, or have my corporate headquarters at Keystone at the Crossing, the most prestigious office address in the state. Instead, I have a desk set up in my loft upstairs and most of the time, I am not even there. I no longer have any employees, gave up my office land line phone number and drive a 10 year old car. That’s because I gave up my 20 year old car… A dozen custom suits, with shirts, ties and shoes to match are gathering dust in my closet.

My “uniform” these days is a pair of khakis with a pullover shirt – and I love it. In other words, God has me right where He wants me. It took me this long to figure out that God had a plan for me and it wasn’t doing all the high brow stuff in my early career. So as I sit here this Labor Day, 30 years later, I can’t help but think about the journey I have been on and how God, at the end of all of it, sent me a tremendous surprise – a love of what I do – in fact, I am thrilled with my corporate and ministry lives now…

The verse for tonight is from Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Boy, that is so true. I couldn’t even begin to imagine the things I have done since that first day in Indianapolis 30 years ago. What a ride! My encouragement tonight is that God also has a plan for you – but you won’t hear it unless you are ready to listen and submit in humble obedience. My prayer is that you will embrace whatever plan it is that God has already put into place for you. I will guarantee you that it is far bigger and better than you can possibly imagine. Mine was – Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…

 
 
 
 

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