A Personal Reflection from a Soulforce Volunteer

Dear Soulforce Friends,

As usual I am so high from seeing and hugging all of you that were in DC. What beautiful, loving, justice seeking friends. Those who could not come you were in our thoughts.

Richard Murphy thank you so much for making the vigils at the Hyatt a reality. Somehow I felt called to go there. Once in awhile we got a few kind words as we shivered in the cold. Most of us looked like little dough boys and girls as we layered with every coat we brought. Very cold. Of course, our Soulforce shirts were stretched to the maximum on the top. The major part of our uniform as we vigiled were our SMILES. I know that they felt our love as they struggled with their own thoughts as they passed us.

Many of the Bishops took our flyers when they left the Hyatt for a break and held them up like hall passes as they returned. We simply said "Have you read them? We are here to answer your questions." Many waved hands of dismissal to us. A few smiled and glanced at us.

I became early on interested in the blue military uniforms that came and went. I noticed crosses on them and knew that they must be chaplains. My father retired from the USAF. Bob, my husband and wonderful supporter also retired from the USAF. So I stopped a couple of them and talked to them about my military background and experience of attending on a base where all the religions met or used the same chapel. The Catholic Fathers shared office, sanctuary etc with Baptists, Methodists, Rabbis etc. Families came in at their appointed hours and claimed the shared space for awhile. Mostly I remember that we all got along in the same space.

I also remember trying to hand a flyer to a man in a black uniform who I believe was part of the Navy. His response was "You have got to be kidding!" He waved me off.

Well on Wednesday morning as I bundled up for one last vigil before heading for the airport, I thought all would go pretty much the same. We could count on a few smiles, many dismissing hands. Then the Hyatt doors opened and there were men in blue uniforms charging towards us with steaming mugs of coffee. You could have blown us over. "The Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Men" brought us something that not only warmed our stomachs but our souls. Several from the chaplain’s office were there. I couldn’t count because of the tears in my eyes. These uniformed men were stepping out with an act of kindness. We warmed our frozen hands, shared hugs, smiles and felt the thawing of our hearts. There is hope. Those chaplains did get it and saw us as brothers and sisters, cold and in need of warmth and hope. They acted like they would have on base and welcomed everyone into the same space. They let us into their hearts and thoughts. They thought about this for three days and then did this very courageous thing. Chokes me up still. The Hyatt doormen beamed and I caught a tear or two in their eyes as they watched the MEN IN BLUE and SOULFORCE share a moment of compassion. For a moment all hearts sang.

God Bless You All. I’m ready for more. Moments like this do it for me. By the way the mugs are stamped "YOU CAN have it All. Army National Guard." Someday, don’t you think?

Jeaneane Hilll

Ed. Note: Jeaneane is the faithful and creative Soulforcee who makes the crosses and hearts that have added so much to our actions.