Thirty-Five Years Already?
The day after Labor Day, that would be Tuesday of this week, was the thirty fifth anniversary of my beginning work in Indianapolis. It seems so long ago, and I could never have predicted all the twists and turns our lives have taken since our move to Indiana back in the fall of 1982. I drove down on Labor Day from our home in Inverness, IL while Janet took care of our three kids who were 7, 4 and 1. Jill, our 4 year old, had already started in kindergarten near our home and so, at the time, the schools in Indiana allowed her to transfer here although Indiana kids usually entered school a year later.
I knew our lives were about to change, but I had no idea how drastically. I arrived at a hotel located located across the street from where I would be holding many meetings and was assigned room 1231 at the Sheraton – top floor on the front side of the hotel, facing downtown Indianapolis. I arrived at my office downtown the next morning and looked out my corner office window onto the state capitol and the office of the Governor of Indiana. It was quite an unusual experience for a 29 year old who had spent his entire life in the Chicago area.
I didn’t know anyone and planned on spending each evening eating dinner alone. That is, until I headed north to the Carmel Racquet Club my first evening to check out the facilities. Our family was big into tennis back then and people let me know that Carmel was the place to be. As I was sitting in the dining area, a guy came up to introduce himself and bought me dinner that first work night in Indy. Barry and I got to know each other throughout the following months and it was not unusual for me to drive 30 minutes north to have dinner at the racquet club several evenings each week. It became my normal at a very unstable time in our lives.
Janet and the kids stayed north, other than the one time they came down to stay with me at the hotel. I travelled north every other week and helped out at home when I was there. It was a lonely time – being gone from Janet and the kids. Work was okay – not great. I sensed something was not right with the situation and paid close attention to what was going on at the office. I met many of the “right people” and so I charged ahead with the assignment as Executive Director of a non-profit that had been put together to help entrepreneurs build their businesses.
Janet and I bought a home in Carmel and planned our move for Halloween week-end of 1982. I returned home a day early to assist Janet with the movers and then we headed down with Ellie, our collie, while the kids stayed behind to come down with Janet’s sister, Debbie, and their grandmother Nancy. Janet and I closed on our home that first day and slept on the floor that first night. The movers and the rest of the family arrived the next morning and our lives in Indiana, as a family, started. I confess that I was glad to get out of the hotel after almost two months of living there!
But Monday morning, the first work day after the family was here, I uncovered some improprieties that I couldn’t ignore. In fact, by the end of that Monday, I had resigned… so here we were, less than 48 hours in our new home, in a strange city, with no friends or extended family – and now no job. To Janet’s credit, her faith has always been steadfast and she knew things would work out one way or another. We couldn’t afford to move anywhere else so we had to make the best of Carmel, IN. And I think we have… what a great place to raise our family and make a life for ourselves.
Throughout the last 35 years, we have touched thousands of people, become caring members of the community, deepened our faith and dependence on God and now we are watching the next generation of kids, our grandchildren, making their lives here as well. Who would have thought that it would turn out this way? Absolutely amazing to me!
I could go on for days, but the point of all this is that we never know where the twists and turns of life will take us. But God already knows. Tonight’s verse is from Jeremiah and he tells us, in 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.”
That certainly has happened to us. I couldn’t have begun to plan the events and challenges that God has woven into our lives. My encouragement this evening is that God has a plan for each of us – and it’s grander than we can possibly imagine. My prayer is that you will let God lead and reveal His plan for your life to you. I know it’s more than you could ever dream. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…