May 4th, 2016

The Kelleys:  Joining Community – Experiencing Place

by Nikki Owens

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I recently asked Sean and Jonna Kelley to share their family’s story about moving into the city. Here’s a little part of their journey:

“We’ll have you downtown before you know it.”  After ten minutes of lively discussion about our life on a hobby farm complete with dairy goats and chickens, Emily Vanest of the City Gallery had prophetically claimed that before long we would uproot – irresistibly drawn into the fabric of the city.  Imagine…in essence she was boldly proclaiming that our lives would be turned upside down and we would leave behind what had become part of our identity in order to venture into the unknown.  To quote one of our favorite movies… “Inconceivable!”  Well…she was right, and we could not be more thrilled.

kelley sold sign

We have spent most of the last 18 years in Indianapolis and three of our four daughters were born here.  Although neither of us were raised here, it has become home.  Over time, we have found that we were spending more of our life in the city. We have found increasing joy exploring the depths and vibrant neighborhoods rich with history that were hard to see riding the current of the freeways.

Mission and community are the hallmarks of the city we are coming to know.  Amazing people are everywhere making a difference for the place they love, and the lives of the people we meet are intertwined with purpose – nurturing the future, strengthening foundations, and enriching lives. We are learning that living in community is characterized by openness and readiness for spontaneity. It requires a preparedness to be present and available for friends and future friends – no one is a stranger.  There is something about the energy in the city that awakens a strong desire to be on a mission ourselves and we cannot wait to say “yes” to opportunity.

We thought we knew what the word “place” meant until we started hearing others use it in ways that were entirely new to us.  “Place” now makes sense.  It is a feeling as much as a location – an identity with motion and being.  “Place” has a pulse and we find ourselves beginning to walk in step with it. Our cars are feeling lonely as our bike tires and feet grow accustomed to the miles.  We are beginning to recognize faces, learn names, and understand the back-story of people around us.  We are also discovering that local entrepreneurs and artists offer beautiful and unmatched experiences that are enriching our lives. Our fledgling roots are stretching and growing stronger; soon we will no longer feel like those strange transplants that moved in from the north.  We are becoming part of the urban garden and we look forward to knowing all those who share it.