Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | July 11, 2011

Living Beyond My Father

My father's burial and mine

Today, I outlived my father, James Albert Bowden (Sr. cause my son is named for him).   I am 60 years and months and days from November 18th, 1950.

It was my father’s third, or was it fourth, real heart attack that took his life.  Not counting the many tachycardia (sp).    His first one was age 47.  I have not had any yet.

But, comparing medical charts isn’t the blog worthy nature of this milestone.  It is about relationships.  Legacy and life.  And the one, only, true, living God’s – Father, Son and Holy Ghost – purpose for a human life.

I loved my Daddy.  I didn’t see him as perfect.  Far from it.  I saw him as the imperfect, wonderful husband, father, clansman and friend – and Patriot as well as Army Officer – he was.  I looked up to him when I was taller than he.  I loved him always.

I am keenly aware of how much living he has missed since he left his body to live in Heaven in a new body.  I count the sweet and bitter, the beautiful and ugly, the small and great that he didn’t know.  The laughter and the tears – too many tears.

Yet, I don’t lament the missed as lost.  We who loved him may miss him, but he didn’t miss the good stuff when all the great stuff in life is the phase of eternal life we live in Heaven.   I’m just aware of the account of what was and wasn’t.

That accounting of his life until mine matched his in length leads to a new perspective on time we didn’t share in common.  Now, I get to live days here in the flesh he never had.

I see them as a gift from God for a purpose.  Because of the glory of Heaven in the presence of the Lord God, the gift is not the days living in this body, but His Will for  living each day.   I get the message, “You will live longer than your Father.  You don’t deserve or need a day more.  Each day I give you is to serve Me.  Serve well.”

Every day from now on seems to me to be a bit different because it is like a trust fund.  I am given something my earthly father never had – to use for His Will.  I’m entrusted to use it wisely and well.  I’m accountable for every day.

I am living beyond my Father in time.  Yet, I am not beyond him in any other respect.

I take my personal covenant as Isaiah 59:21.

21As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.

Today, I have 3 children and two spouses and 3 grandchildren who will fulfill or deny that covenant.  I should live to bring unconditional love – lovingkindness – to my family, my clans, church family, friends, colleagues, communities, country and beyond in the name of Jesus in these days my Daddy never had.

I’ll try to make you proud of this extra time, Daddy.  I’m still proud of you – just as you are.



  1. A great tribute to your Dad, but also a great thought on what we do with the undeserved gift of the time we have.

    When I reflect on the times in which we live and the deeds or lack thereof that we attend to, I am reminded of Gandalf’s response to Frodo Baggins’ question as to why he was left with the One Ring:
    “It is not for us to decide upon the times in which we live, it is to us to decide what to do with the time given us.”

    My we both use this gift of time for His glory.

  2. RP, Thanks very much.

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