I had been, for all intents and purposes, out of work. Janet and I were living hand to mouth with three kids to feed and I had been waiting to hear about securing a position in Indianapolis. The purpose of the job was to help Indianapolis become a center for entrepreneurship and I was up against 300 other candidates for a high profile position. I had been approached about the opportunity in late spring and things were moving slowly.
Finally, I found out that I had survived several rounds of cuts and eventually I was told that I was one of the final twelve to make a presentation to the selection committee. As things turned out, I was last, as they went alphabetically. But, by the grace of God, I was chosen to become the Executive Director of the organization that was looking for a new leader.
Frankly, I had mixed feelings. I was used to running my own ship with the family business in Chicago but things were getting more difficult and I left the company. Neither Janet nor I had ever lived outside the Chicagoland area and we didn’t have any friends in Carmel, IN. But, we needed to go and see this through.
So, on Labor Day, 1982, I said my goodbyes to Janet and our three kids. Kristin was 7, Jill was 4 and Andrew had just turned 1. It was a lot to leave Janet with but I was to report for work the day after Labor Day. I was to reside in room 1231 of the hotel across the street from where I would have to report to the chain of command that financed my position.
My own office was across the street from the State Capitol on Market Street and my corner office looked down on the Governor’s suite of rooms. I receive quite a welcome – movers and shakers as well as the Governor and Lt. Governor all helped me get acclimated in Indianpolis. We received loans to purchase a home and memberships to the major downtown clubs.
I decided to get to know the area and figure out where our family would live. Carmel ended up being the location – primarily because in those days, we were serious tennis players and Carmel had a great racquet club – at least that’s what I heard. But more about that on Thursday’s post!
So I drove down, settled into my room and started to get to know the Indianapolis community. It was lonely – and I had deep concerns about the family moving away from our support network in suburban Chicago. But clearly, it wouldn’t work for me to commute each week and have our family live in two different cities. So… Janet and I made the decision to transplant ourselves to Carmel.
Now, as I approach 70 years old, we have lived in Carmel for 40 years. That’s more than half our lives. All three of our children grew up in the Carmel school system and they all live within 10 minutes of our home. We have had 4 houses here, all within two miles of where we currently reside.
We have had our ups and downs – but I don’t think we ever even thought about life 40 years in the future when we moved here. After all, we loved our old area – but in hindsight, our kids had a much better life growing up here than they would have had in suburban Chicago.
In the following weeks, I will write more about the biggest transition Janet and I have ever faced. But for now, our verse for tonight highlights the fact that God had this all planned out and we could never have anticipated what life would be like here. We started a company, I went to seminary and we trusted God for our provision. Our children have had good lives, we love each other and do life together and even our grandchildren have had the benefit of growing up in this wonderful community.
Our verse for tonight comes from the prophet Jeremiah who tells us, in Jeremiah 29:11-12, “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. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Surely, God’s plan for our family was greater than any of us could have ever imagined.
My encouragement this evening is that God has greater plans for each of us than we can even dream. But it takes trust in the Lord to turn all this over and live our best lives with Him. My prayer is that we, as Christians, will all bow to the Creator of everything and experience His grace, love and desire for each of us to flourish beyond our wildest expectations. Have a great day in the Lord grace and peace…