Near the end of the last act of “Hamilton,” our hero pauses just before he’s shot dead by Aaron Burr. This long pause gives Hamilton time to muse on his legacy – what the word means, what his will be – and to say goodbye to his wife and hello to his mother and son.
Legacy, says Hamilton, is planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.
I could not help but think of these words upon learning that Rachel Held Evans passed away this morning.
I first became aware of Evans’ work years ago, when I began reading A Year of Biblical Womanhood. I met this book during a time in my young adulthood when I was beginning to unpack some of the theological teachings I was spoon-fed in college. I was questioning the legitimacy of the idea that women are *supposed* to be stay-at-home moms. I was questioning the validity of the idea that all women in the church are subordinate and/or complimentary to all men in the church. I was questioning the accuracy of prevailing biblical interpretation that condemned homosexual people either to celibacy or damnation (neither of these options being valid enough for full acceptance into the body of Christ).
And I did not know then if it was possible to hold beliefs that felt true in my heart and still be a part of a church or a Christian at all.
Rachel Held Evans’ thorough, insightful, transparent work taught me that theological indoctrination does not supercede the truth of God’s word or outweigh God’s ability to speak truth to my heart.
When I ran errands around town today with my younger son, I thought repeatedly that Evans will never do this with her own kids, who are still practically babies.
Look what she’s left them: not only her love, plenty of pictures (I’m sure) that will immortalize memories they themselves are too young to hold onto. But she’s also left them this wonderful body of work that chronicles the working out of her salvation, in spirit and in truth.
I have such a deep thankfulness that Evans shared her words with the world. But my words are few and tears are many at this moment. I don’t know if there’s anyone else I’ve never met whose had such an impact on who I am.
I’m so grateful she’s left this legacy to her babies and to us all. A legacy of faith and truth and a spirit of boldness.