In addition to being the traditional end of summer, Labor Day holds a number of memories from when our family moved to Indianapolis. That’s because the day after Labor Day is the day that I reported to my first day of work here back in 1982. It had been a long summer. I was leaving the family business several years after Dad passed away and the powers that be in Indy had heard of my career and had an opening in a high profile organization that was charged with helping promote entrepreneurship in central Indiana.
The search was being done by a well known Chicago firm on South LaSalle Street and by the time they were done vetting candidates, more than 300 people had been considered for the position. By some miracle, I made it to the final twelve and was invited to a last personal interview in Indy. They went in alphabetical order and so, with the name Toussaint, well, I was the last interview.
Lo and behold, I was offered the position to lead a new high profile non-profit – and I had to be in Indy to start on September 7, 1982 – the day after Labor Day. Janet and I, along with our three kids, lived in Inverness, IL at the time. So I packed my suitcase and drove down after our barbecue at home. I checked into room 1231 of a hotel on the near north side of Indy and settled in. It was very lonely.
The rest, as they say, is history. I engaged a real estate agent and looked for a home in Carmel, a northern Indy suburb. I drove up daily after I left work each day and visited the local tennis club. After all, we were avid tennis players back in the day. My first meal in town was bought by a fellow I still see from time to time – at the restaurant in the club.
I ended up committing to buy a house before Janet even saw it. Thankfully, she loved it when I finally received permission to take her on a tour. We secured a mortgage, eventually sold our home in suburban Chicago and life in Carmel began in earnest.
Throughout the years, our kids have grown up and had families of their own. I didn’t last at the non-profit for long – I just never got used to working for somebody else. In fact, I resigned the day after Halloween in 1982, barely 8 weeks after I started. It was a little scary – Janet and the kids had moved down on Halloween weekend – the day before….
I must say that Janet has always had faith that God will get us through whatever tribulation we face. Sure enough, she was correct. At one point, we had three mortgages on our home and more than $21,000 in cash advances on our credit cards. I didn’t think we were going to make it. But my closest childhood friend, who is now deceased, sent us a surprise gift of $15,000 to get on on our feet when every other source went dry.
Luckily, it was the boost we needed and within a year we had returned his gift to me with a gift of our own to him, his wife and her folks. They had invested in me as well – and they had never even met me. The whole episode had God’s fingerprints all over it. We would never had survived without Bob’s kindness. I still marvel at it, but that’s the kind of guy he was.
Since then, we have been blessed beyond our wildest imaginations. We have four grandsons, built a successful company and I was even asked to consult in Washington at the White House back at the beginning of my time in town. Neither Janet nor I could ever have imagined the life that we have had here. We have had ups and downs – but we never would have dared to dream the reality that we have experienced.
For the most part, we have our health and live a life that we never even dreamt about. All our children live within 10 minutes, as do all of our grandsons. Several of them are in college now – that’s tough to believe – but they are here when school isn’t in session.
Our youngest child, Andrew, turned 42 years old several months ago; he was 1 year old when we moved here. That’s almost impossible for me to fathom. But you get the idea… We have continued our journey of faith – trusting God for His provision and blessings on our family.
Our verse for tonight highlights the words of Solomon, the author of Proverbs. While we planned year after year what we would hope to accomplish, we had no idea how we would get there. Solomon tells us, in Proverbs 16:9, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
My encouragement this evening is that God already has the future planned out for each of us. Yes, we have free will, but God is the ultimate Creator who helps us along the path. My prayer is that we will trust the Lord to determine the steps we should take to have our best lives. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…