Eshet Chayil

I began to write this poem after watching the funeral of Rachel Held Evans. I listened to her friends and family describe her as a woman who always asked the hard questions, always loved, always gave of herself when she could. I couldn’t stop thinking to myself, “They are talking about a woman who was Christ to everyone she met.”

This poem started out as a way for me to pay tribute to a woman I greatly admired and whose passing I still mourn. But it became something else too: it became a picture of the sort of woman I desire to be. These are the kind of words that I hope others will speak one day at my funeral because it will mean that I too was Christ to the people in my life.

Thank you, Rachel, for the example you set for us all.

Eshet Chayil

You spoke your words
Gentle but firm
You told the truth
And broke through the lies
Where hate abounded, you spoke love

You spoke your words
Calm yet fierce
You called into the darkness
And proclaimed freedom to the captives
Where the marginalized lived, you called them close

You spoke your words
Brave and strong
You asked the questions few could
And you challenged the narratives
Where fear ruled, you sang grace

You fought for the helpless
You sat with the hurting
You listened without judgment
You opened the table to the hungry
You were Christ to the least of these

Your voice has become silent
You fought the good fight
You were a faithful servant to the end
You closed your eyes to rest
And fell asleep in your Mother’s arms
Leaving those whose lives you’ve touched
To continue the revolution you’ve helped spark

Oh Eshet Chayil, woman of valor
May we do you proud!

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