Is community enough?

The question has been burning inside of me for close to a year now.

Yesterday, I posted on Twitter and Facebook that I was starting to feel a pull out of urban living. And that I was conflicted.

Adam and I bought our first house on the southeast side of downtown Indianapolis over 11 years ago. The main reasons we chose downtown centered around proximity to work and loving the architecture and originality of historic homes.

But as time went by, the reason to STAY downtown changed for me. I started coaching gymnastics at Jireh Sports. We made our church home at Redeemer. I was on the board at The Harrison Center for the Arts. We sent our children to The Oaks Academy. I was working for Herron High School. I felt called to live urban – to live in a diverse setting and take whatever tagged along with it.

We are now in our second home downtown. I love our double lot and the style of our home. It really is beautiful. But it’s not ideal for our family: no central air and only one full bath. These are both things I can live with in the grand scheme of things.

But then I drive 4-5 miles north and see big, sprawling yards. And ranches. And people waving to me while I drive through their neighborhoods. And homes that aren’t vacant for 6 years and falling apart and housing homeless people and their cats. And kids riding bikes on driveways and on cul de sacs. (Riding bikes on STREETS! Can you even imagine my fellow urbanites?!)

And I start to want it.

Now here’s where I start to feel conflicted.

Because really? I want both. I want to live in a traditional neighborhood like I grew up in as a child. And I want to experience a diverse life. I want my kids to not just go to a diverse school, but LIVE a diverse life.

But why can’t this happen if I live 4 miles north?

I can’t answer that question. People 4 miles north need Jesus too.

I’m not coaching at an urban gym, not on the board of an urban arts organization, not working at an urban high school. I’m just living downtown.

My heart aches because my COMMUNITY is here. My closest friends. My church. My school.

But is that enough? Can’t I still have that community and not live in this neighborhood if I’m intentional?

Your thoughts please.

About Katie White

believer. wife. mom. friend. life in transition.
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3 Responses to Is community enough?

  1. sarah partain says:

    That is such a tough question. We live downtown so we can be closer to Nathan’s job and hopefully a one car family, although we’ll definitely have two once we get a minivan! 😉 Seriously, I struggle with being content downtown, all the time.
    But one of the things that I’ve discovered by living downtown is that being near our community IS so awesome! I think I feel that way because I grew up in the country and so far away from friends.
    Because living in Indy has been to tough at times for me anyway, I keep coming back to knowing that God has us HERE, exactly in Fall Creek and Indy and at Redeemer, for a purpose and that when it’s time for us to do something different, that he’ll let us know, just as he did in Seattle. In the tough moments, that is what I remind myself and really, I can’t argue with that.
    I don’t know that if you are intentional about being downtown, that that will be just like you lived here. There is something about living in proximity with folks that I think you would miss out on and I don’t know that it’s an equal trade.
    Pray about it, too. See what God says. You ARE at some pretty missional places with chuch and school, so even though it might seem like a small thing, God could have you here for the broader work that these places want to do, and that it does really matter. (I’m telling that to myself, too.).
    I would be sad if you moved, but definitely do what you think is right. It’s a good and right process to be in, I think. And for me, it’s all about being content with where God has us. And it’s really hard sometimes.

  2. Unless I’m willing to make an all new support system, I think I need to live downtown. Having no family living close by, I rely so much on my friends to help me with day to day life. I think that is what keeps me where I am.

    But oh, do I want a yard 20 times larger than what I have, and more space in general for my kids to safely play. So if we all move and go together, I’m totally in.

  3. Pete Gall says:

    Sometimes seasons end.

    The seasons we can’t grieve and let go sometimes turn out to be idols…cocoons we know are empty but we treat as full because we loved how it felt to await the butterfly.

    People 4 miles north need Jesus. They also have Him. Same as downtown.

    He goes where he wills. So can we.

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