Hey, everybody. Jen Hatmaker here, your host of the For the Love Podcast. Welcome to the show. I’m so glad that you are here today. We’re in a series called For the Love of Community and Friendships. As a podcast team, we’re constantly paying attention to you, our listeners, and what you are saying and what you’re asking for. Every time you send us an idea or a request, or “This is something I’d love to hear on the show,” we are paying attention. We just have this consistent through-line of our listening community saying, “Community and friendship as an adult is still something of a pain point. I feel like we need instruction around this,” that “I thought it would be this way, but it’s this way. I don’t know how to manage this as a grownup.” There’s just a lot around this idea, and so we knew we wanted to do an entire series on it. I can’t think of a better guest than the one I have today in this space because I think sometimes when we’re hungry for connection and friendship, we keep thinking it’s a really complex, hard-to-find place to go get it. Where do you have to go? Where do you have to join? But the truth is, we literally are embedded in neighborhoods. We live by people–we have neighbors. We are already in a community just by virtue of where we live and I know as a community, we run the gamut here. Some of us are deeply connected in our neighborhood and some are not at all.
When was the last time you reached out to one of your neighbors? I know that we certainly have people that we feel comfortable with, but do we know the people we live by? Beyond, “Hey, how are you?” Or do we know about our neighbor’s families? Do we know about their lives? Do we know their children? Do we know their struggles and their victories? I think right now, our country is really wobbly around this right now. This sense of community in our neighborhood. We are absolutely being taught to fear each other right now, that we are constantly in danger. That people mean us harm, that our neighbors are to be distrusted. It’s just the craziest thing I’ve ever seen, where somehow this constant rhetoric is turning us against our own neighbors.
It’s bananas and I’m interested in reversing this trend; this slow sense of place and community and connection. Having people around our tables, having our neighbors on our porches, being around theirs, and, being deeply invested in one another, living our lives, just our ordinary, plain daily lives with the people around us. Our guest today is just a precious friend of mine, really for so long now, and one of my favorite people–that is no hyperbole. She’s particularly gifted in the space of community and being neighborly. You may remember, if you’re a longtime listener, from our For the Love of Books series, which kind of feels like a lifetime ago at this point. She’s back today. I’ve got Shannan Martin with us. You guys get excited!
She is just special. She’s a special person in the world. I don’t know how else to say it. She is a writer. She’s a speaker, who says she “Found her voice in the country and found her story in the city.” We’re gonna unpack that. She works as a cook at The Window, which is this local nonprofit in her community dedicated to feeding anybody who needs to be fed in Goshen, Indiana, where she lives. She’s just a wonderful, special, and unique person. After you listen to this conversation, you will want to live next to her, which is a sentiment echoed in the forward that I wrote for her first book, which is called Falling Free. Her second book was called The Ministry of Ordinary Places, which is what we talked about the last time she was on the show.
Her latest book is called Start With Hello and it’s just lovely and it brims with possibility. Our other friend of the show, Osheta Moore, said this about it. She said, “It’s a call to action toward radical, realistic hospitality.” And that’s true. Not in some big performative, complicated, fussy, fancy way. In fact, it’s the opposite of every word I said. I want you to enjoy this conversation of 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, and you are truly living in this connected, beautiful way. It’s lovely. It’s hopeful. You’ll see why she’s my absolute favorite. So, without any further ado, please enjoy this beautiful conversation with my friend who I love, Shannan Martin.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
For the Love of Books Series
The Window (a nonprofit organization out of Goshen, IN)
For the Love Episode ft. Osheta Moore
An article on the health benefits of Ice Cream by The Atlantic
Toad the Wet Sprocket Tour
Crack the Case by Dawes