My name is Martha. I’d like to think that if we were neighbors, we’d be friends. Since I don’t currently have plans to live in Montana or New York, it is unlikely that we will be neighbors anytime soon, but I do hope that our paths cross someday. In the meantime, I’ll continue to think of you as my friend because I hear your voice all the time, either through your books, your podcast or your PBS show. Today I heard your voice for nearly four hours as I re-listened to my favorite podcasts while wrapping Christmas gifts. It was a sure fire way to get this gal out of her own head which was definitely not a nice place to be earlier today.
I occasionally write on Medium and I also send a lot of letters to friends and family. Tonight I can’t sleep so I decided to write a thank you letter to you. First off, thank you for helping make me a more curious person who asks more questions and for providing an opportunity for my sister and I to have deeper conversations about important things. During the pandemic we started listening to your podcasts and discussing them afterwards. While we are very close, we live far apart and we weren’t able to see each other for several months. Instead we had a weekly wonder call where we talked about the last podcast. We talk nearly every day, but it is usually about how annoying our children/husbands are or what we’re making for dinner or whether we should buy the table/shoes/dishes. Your podcast helped us up our game and talk about some important topics. Please know we still talk daily about our annoying family members, but we feel like we are more curious about the world and the people in it and we are grateful for the deeper conversations.
Secondly, I’d like to thank you for introducing me to so many people I would otherwise never have known. These people — like Eboo Patel, Michael Murray, Anthony Ray Hinton and BJ Miller — whose stories and thoughts resonated with me so deeply. People like Rich Roll, who gave me hope and belief that I could stop drinking and have a richer life. And of course people like Anne, Anna and Anna — who made me feel like maybe I’m not crazy after all because we’re all just trying to make it through this thing called life and be a little better and do a little better.
Thirdly, while so many of your podcasts have resonated with me and I have listened to many of them more than once, your series on beliefs was incredibly powerful and impactful. I have a deep faith but question so much. I grew up Catholic (Irish Catholic girl from Boston), went to an Episcopal church in the south during college and now I’m a Presbyterian living in the midwest. I was brought up with a deep faith but questioned the response from our Catholic church when my father committed suicide in 1992 and when they told us we couldn’t have Joy To The World as a song at my mother’s funeral because it wasn’t a funeral song. Needless to say, I still have so many questions but I have found a community and a church where that is ok. I shared your podcasts on belief with the minister and we are now offering a series on beliefs. In the new year we have a podcast group starting — like a book club — and we are sharing our bests pods on beliefs. Over the moon about this. Thanks for being the spark.
Lastly, thank you for Friday For the Good of the Order podcasts. They are just the thing to go into my weekend with a little bit of hope and a reason to connect with a friend. I share these a lot and they open the doors to conversation of what is working and what is good in the world and one little thing we can do to make things easier or better in a very real way.
To sum it all up, thanks for being you and sharing yourself and your friends with the world and for making it a little nicer inside my head.