Shannan Martin on Friendship: “It Starts with Hello”

When was the last time you reached out to one of your neighbors? Not just the people you feel comfortable with, but the ones who live near that you might not know beyond a “How are you?” in passing. As we continue our Community and Friendship series, we’re taking a look at why it enriches our lives (and the lives of our neighbors) to invest in the people around us. It doesn’t have to mean they all become our best friends, but a little curiosity, a little paying attention, and a little effort to listen will go a long way in developing the kinds of relationships that make life sweeter. To help guide this conversation, we’re delighted to welcome author and speaker Shannan Martin back to the show!  Through her writing, Shannan has revolutionized the way we think about relationships with her refreshing perspectives. She articulates the need for genuine, deep-seated friendships that stretch beyond conventional norms. She also unravels the complexities of forging meaningful connections in our modern world, and her last book “Start with Hello” beckons us toward extending hospitality in ways that might feel awkward at first, but will net us that sense of community and belonging we all long for. 

Shannan and Jen discuss: 

  • How Shannan, a self proclaimed introvert, faced her loneliness after she and her family moved from the country to the city by getting outside her comfort zone and making herself available to meet her neighbors
  • What it means to be deeply embedded in a neighborhood where you are both a good neighbor, and your neighbors are good neighbors to you
  • How making new friends, no matter how big or small, always starts with a simple “hello”  and the small steps towards getting to know someone by making eye contact, paying attention and helping when we can

Shannan and Jen agree that when we reach out beyond our fears, beyond our comfort level, and beyond our borders with radical hospitality, good things start to happen in our neighborhoods which then trickle out to our communities and begin to affect society as a whole. And, be sure to stay with us ‘til the very end–you won’t want to miss a little bonus chat among friends about whether ice cream is healthy for you or not, and what flavors Jen and Shannan swear by.

Piercing Shattered Dreams Into a Beautiful Story: Shannan Martin

When we’re kids, we each think about the lives we want when we’re older. What if you worked hard for years to make that dream—a loving husband, doting children, a farmhouse with a literal white-picket fence—a reality? And then, all of a sudden, you’re picking the shards of your realized childhood dream off the ground? That’s what happened to Shannan Martin—and she couldn’t be more thankful. Shannan is a writer and speaker from Goshen, Indiana, who is one of Jen’s literal favorite people. Today we’ll hear how Shannan found her voice in the country and her story in the city, and about her new book The Ministry of Ordinary Places. We’ll learn how she and her jail-chaplain husband Cory found their four children, including one who was a nineteen-year-old father of twins when he came to them, and how Shannan and Cory have learned to parent each of their adopted children. We’ll talk about how to become good neighbors with people who come from different walks of life, whose path to the present doesn’t resemble ours at all, and why sometimes staying in a place you don’t feel completely comfortable in can be one of the bravest things you can do.