Gentle Warrior on the Hill, Called Home — Promoted!
Normally this blog is about gems that I have found, but last night we all lost one. Jim Boulet Jr left us for his heavenly home the evening of January 16, 2009. In my spirit, from a great distance, I had just wished him Godspeed and sent my love, when I got the email that he had gone. I will miss him greatly, but I know that he was promoted to a higher calling and that our loss is indeed heaven’s gain.
Jim lived in Alexandria, Virginia with a view of the capitol from his window for many years. While he had a view of the capitol, his heart belonged to his Lord and Savior. His calling was as a warrior in the arena of ideas in the political/culture war. He was a brilliant historian, researcher, writer, and thinker. He was the executive director of English First for many years.
Jim and I met years ago and have had one of the most profound friendships of my life. We shared conservative politics and the Lord. We lived at opposite ends of the country; he was in the northeast and I am in the southwest. We saw each other once or twice a year, when he would have a speaking engagement or an event in my area or when I would visit my family in the DC area. I got to see him most recently when I was in DC for my nephew’s wedding in November. Jim went to the wedding with me and we did several things together while I was there for a visit. He wasn’t feeling well then and was hospitalized over the Christmas holidays. He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer then and received a series of radiation treatments. Next thing you know, time to go home per the Lord God almighty.
Jim had a love of life and a zest for fun and a passion for people that is a rare gift. He was a servant leader with a giving heart – giving always all that he had in time and talent and treasure. He knew I loved cats, so for years as he read papers working on politics and writing about current events, he would clip cat cartoons, which he collected in an envelope and then sent them to me periodically. My collection of cat cartoons is one of the many great treasures he left with me. He was always sending me chocolates and cat toys that he thought might brighten my day. He went to see the Passion Movie more times than I can recount, just to boost the ratings and get more people to go. It was what he could do about matters and do it he did!
Jim fought valiantly in the arena of ideas. He never met a debate he didn’t love and would carry the conservative message into any arena with an open door absolutely fearlessly. He loved to tell the story about my little old fluffy declawed cat, Tina, standing her ground against two fully clawed young bengal cats belonging to my sister. Tina would arch her back and hiss and kept the young whippersnappers at bay (even though either one of them could have easily rolled her at any time). Jim would say that our political friends needed more backbone like Tina to stand up to the enemy fearlessly and that much was to be learned from the model. He probably wrote on the incident somewhere! Life lessons usually turned into a story for Jim.
He was constantly learning truths from books and movies and people and writing them in such a way as to win the battle for the hearts and minds of the people. He lived the life of faith to the end knowing confidently that His God was well able to take care of whatever came his way. I loved the story in NRO today where Jim was praying for others from his hospital room. Yes that was the Jim I knew who prayed with and for people wherever he encountered the need, on the phone as we talked or on the hill where someone shared a problem. He was instant in prayer and that was the first place he turned when he encountered a problem or when someone expressed a need.
He was a student of history and the Bible and a great reader of books (a sports fan too but you ‘ll have to get that story from someone else – probably his dad). He was a genius who had to work to get the ideas down to our level, but that he did. I think he had a photographic memory because once he read it he had it and constantly amazed me with his recall. The people in DC who counted on this talent to call him whenever they needed information will surely feel the loss.
What others in the DC area say will share more about his political efforts. Although we shared politics, he was my best friend for many years and this blog will give you a personal glimpse of the Jim I knew. Jim was a frequent contributor to National Review Online (NRO) and loved the people there and the opportunity to write something for them. Here are some additional links from friends on the hill as well as one of his own last articles:
John J. Miller on Jim Saturday January 17, 2009
Kathryn Jean Lopez Re: Jim Boulet
LInda Chavez on Jim Boulet
Richard Falknor (a good friend from MD) on Jim Boulet, Jr — Friend, Patriot, and Profound Believer
Quinn Hillyer – Sad News for our Mother Tongue
One of Jim’s latest pieces was “Obama declares war on conservative talk radio” – November 17, 2008
‘Til we meet again!