We feel the sting of death as the tears stream down our faces. We feel the sting of death when we can no longer hug those we love. We can feel the sting of death as we watch our friends child grow up without him or her. We feel the sting of death when something we watch or ,siren to immediately makes us think of those who gave gone before us. We feel the sting of death when the anniversary of death looms upon us.
A year ago tomorrow (May 4, 2019), we lost beloved author Rachel Held Evans. Rachel was wife to Dan. Rachel was mother to Henry and Harper. Rachel was big sister to Amanda. Rachel was a daughter. Rachel was a friend to many. Rachel was a theologian, a revolutionary and most of all a woman of valor. Her words were and continue to be a gift.
I first met Rachel through her words when I read her book “Searching for Sunday.” I wanted to be her friend. I wanted to sit over coffee and talk theology with her. I wanted to ask her all the questions. But most of all, I wanted to be like her. I wanted to stand in the in between with her. I wanted to be as wise as she was.
In the midst of a pandemic, I yearn for her words. I want her to tell us how we will get through this time. I want her to make us laugh so we can find joy and blessing in this uncertain time. I want her to sit with us in the darkness knowing and reminding us that light will come. That the darkness will not overcome. Mary Magdalene will still come to the tomb in the dark and find it empty for Jesus has still been resurrected. “Easter says you can put death in the grave, but it won’t stay there (Clarence W Hall).”
Death has been defeated. Rachel still lives on through those who knew and loved her. Her words carry us through on the hard days and the not so hard days. Yet we still miss her. Her readers wish they could pick up another of her books. Her friends and family miss her deeply.
The tears do not come often these days, but they still come. Grief has a way of doing that finding its way in when we least expect it. The tears are a reminder that grief is holy and sacred work. Tears remind us of the gift of life of Rachel Held Evans; woman of valor: an example for us.
Because of the sting of death and this gorgeous woman of valor, I strive everyday to be a woman of valor too. May we sit with tax collectors and sinners. May we sit with the doubters. May we all strive to be women of valor, men of valor, people of valor….for by doing so we honor the life and legacy of Rachel Held Evans,