Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | May 24, 2017

An Alt. to Alt.Right

Oklahoma Bombing. This is where the Alt.Right goes. The response is the narrative for a Christian and American identity. It’s our common ground. We’re all in this together.

An Alt. to Alt.Right

Recently, U VA grad Richard Spencer led a rally in Charlottesville against removing the Robert E. Lee statue. Apparently, Spencer is a leader in the Alt. Right movement – an alternative to conservatism. I write “apparently” because my knowledge of the Alt. Right is all secondary sources. Life is too short to read their stuff if it really is all about White Nationalism, European Tribalism, and rejects America as set of ideas. Should the criticisms of the rally capture the essence of the movement, we can take pleasure that only 150 advocates could be mustered all across the mid-Atlantic states. On the other hand, if this movement has Russian, or other, funding to feed its growth, let’s consider an alternative.

The “Deplorables” who were the margin of victory for President Donald Trump were the White, working class folks, especially those great Yankees in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. This Southerner is deeply grateful for them stopping HRH Hillary the First, but I digress. The Deplorables have grievances.

The Liberals Progressives Commies condescendingly disparage Deplorables as motivated by fear and ignorance. Bovine Scatology. The Deplorables are moved by their love of family and home – pride in being American and the freedom of their way of life. The Alt. Right provides a false and dangerous narrative for their legitimate issues in White Identity.   A better alternative is Christian Identity or American Identity.

Christian Identity speaks to the 25-30% (more in the South, less in blue cities, the North and far West) of America that is Evangelical and practicing Catholic Christian. These Cruz voters, who went whole hog for Trump once he got the nomination, have an identity in place that transcends color. All lives matter to Christians. The secret unknown outside the South is the success of the Civil Rights movement, Dr. King’s dream, in the transformation of the heart for the overwhelming majority of Southern Whites away from racial prejudice. Especially, the Bible-believing Evangelicals.

All-American Identity speaks to the 15-20% of America that is cautiously Conservative, but completely living in the current, post-Christian, modern, popular culture which shies from overt Christianity. These Trump voters believe in America as an ascending idea.

The problem is the Liberal Progressive Commie Democrat hierarchy of evil needed to perpetuate permanent victimhood for protected classes of persons is: Southerners, Christians, Males, Whites – in descending order. Capitalists, entrepreneurs, and business people are included in each category of the designated most hated haters. Deplorables are called every kind of hater, fill-in-blank–phobe, the Left Liberal Progressive Commies can invent. It’s getting worse. Eventually, Deplorables will start to think of themselves as White. The Civil Rights wins could be undone. Woe to America if Whites start thinking about themselves as white again – as Whites become a minority.

The alternative is to use Christian American and all-American (think every movie made during WW II) identity language to speak to the issues.

Open borders and illegal immigration, globalism moving manufacturing jobs away, racial preferences and set asides called ‘diversity’, cultural cleansing of Southern monuments and symbols and public Christianity, disparaging all that is “American”, all things PC, no dissent and no free speech indoctrination in captured institutions of education, entertainment, government, apostate churches and big corporations, voting fraud, emasculation of the military – in all meanings, both political party Elites – The Establishment – greed, Obamacare nightmare, importing non-assimilating Muslims and their Islamist cohort, Gaystopo suppression of Christian religious freedom, and the growing, open hatred from the Left Liberal Progressive Democrats Commies towards Southerners, Christians, Males and Whites because their very identity as such brands them as “haters” – are issues to be addressed.

But, don’t use the language of the Left Liberal Progressive Democrats Commies to describe the problem. Don’t use their language to discredit the Alt.Right. Use different words to destroy the Alt.Right. The Left Liberal Progressive Democrats Commies will bark their usual diatribe against such language. They’ll scream at anything Conservatives say.  They’ll be crying ‘wolf’ when Gabriel blows his horn (where does that reference come from? Hint, hint.)

The politician who masters this new narrative in an even more nuanced and deliberate fashion than President Trump can unite the Conservative Right, the Deplorables and enough of the mushy middle to defeat the Left Liberal Progressive Democrats Commies in most states in the Union.

The Republican candidates for office in Virginia could give it a try in 2017.

Police to Fireman hand off of a precious child – what could be more heroically American? This is who we are.

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Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | May 14, 2017

My Beautiful Mother

Edith Henderson Bowden, Sep 15, 1918 – Oct 13, 1986. Mother of three.

Happy Mother’s Day 2017.  I’ve written about the qualities of my mother, my wife, my grandmother who was really my great-aunt but raised my Dad as her own, and my two great-grandmother matriarchs.  Their many qualities and few shortcomings gave the life lessons that shaped me as a boy and man.  The old saws about the hand that rocks the cradle and the woman behind every man ring true in my life.  Recently, I went through all of my grandparents’, parents’ and our pictures for my late sister’s (Babs) memorial vimeo.  While, the pictures fueled many memories and wide-ranging emotions, I was struck with how beautiful my mother was.

I know about inner beauty being best.  I know being born beautiful isn’t fair to most folks.  But, life isn’t fair.  My beautiful Mother taught me that.  And she said, “Pretty is as pretty does.”  She instructed us on all the truths of life and much more.  But, I want to digress from all her teaching and preaching I could share and just say, “Wow! Momma, you were a beautiful woman.”

We had “kitchen talks” when I was a teenager.  The former dishwashers, my sisters, were out of the house, and Daddy had had a severe heart attack and rested a lot.  I’d sit with her – she didn’t want me to do anything but help dry some – while she did the dishes.   She talked.  I listened.

She told me that she was shocked, truly, when she found out women didn’t like her because of her beauty.  She grew up on a farm in South Carolina and thought everyone liked her.  Not so.  She learned how to deal with people wanting to do her ill because of their jealousy or lechery.  She was as intelligent, bright and wise – three different words – as she was beautiful.

She learned how to use her beauty, like big men may use their size.   She used her power for good.  She treated everyone with kindness and dignity, while she had the self-confident pride of royalty, acknowledging no one as her “better”.  From the serving lady behind the lunch counter at work to the dry cleaner to the pharmacist, folks brightened when she walked in – and started sharing about their kids and kin, life and love. and the Lord Jesus Christ – and smiled when they waved good-bye.  But, woe to the one who showed her disrespect.  “I swain” (I swear) I’ve seen the words spoken in soft, Southern accent actually slit a throat – and, clearly, it was felt as intended.

Momma was the most amazing woman I’ve ever known – completely aside from her looks.  My relatives and family friends echo the sentiment.  But, her beauty made her all the more special.  It was part of her very being to be beautiful, but it was her choice to be beautiful to others.  She chose to let her inner beauty shine through her movie star outer beauty to be her whole womanhood.

She was sensual and refined, hard-working and lady-like, attractive and proper – all at the same time.  I’ve said many times she wasn’t a Southern steel magnolia, because steel isn’t tough enough to compare.  If I have half of her courage, I’ll be man enough in sheer bravery alone.

She wanted to be a matriarch like her Grandmother Bobby.  She left this life too soon to place her imprint upon all her grandchildren herself.  Her legacy lives through her children, but its not as she wanted to do it herself.  She wanted to live.  After she died, the doctors took the time to write a letter to us about how remarkable her courage, good humor and grace in her final weeks – when they couldn’t figure out what was killing her.

My Mother.  What a woman.

The two pics at the top and this one are 1956-57. Mother was 38 years old.

Mother is 66 – my age now. She lived another 15 months. She looks great at 66!  So full of life.

 

 

 

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | April 26, 2017

Our last anniversary together, 2013.

April 26th forever for us

Today, April 26th, would be our 42d wedding anniversary, but my wife, Nellie Katherine, died 3 and half years ago. It’s incomprehensible to me. I believe I have survivor’s confusion. Not survivor’s guilt.

I read about survivor guilt in Nellie’s counseling books on death and grieving. In fact, I thought I knew all about death and grieving. I had read her books. We’d talked about it often and in great detail after so many funerals we attended together. I listened to her expound with expertise in her chosen specialty. I’d experienced the early loss of my parents and hers, expected passing of grandparents as well as others, and the tragically unexpected deaths of friends, acquaintances and a few of their children. I knew everything until my wife died.

I re-read the books. I could say the words, “Mourning and grieving are universally, common human experiences which are uniquely, individually experienced”. Experiencing them for my wife was beyond my imagination.

Nellie and I had spent the whole of my life soon after West Point – my entry into manhood – involved in a relationship that led to marriage and evolved into a lifelong love. A love sealed by shared faith over time. A love bound by an intense desire for one another and caring for the other that stayed vigorous, grew stronger and became more tender until death did us part.

I wasn’t ready for the ‘physicality’ of grieving. My body hurt. I didn’t sleep right for nine months. My BP spiked. The first year I worked to survive. I didn’t want to bail out on our three children. I wasn’t that keen on living, but knew I needed to be a father and grandfather – do my duties. In August 2014 I was shocked to first feel my body feeling better. It felt good to feel good.

Time passed. I lived life as it came. Now, this is the fourth Spring that Nellie didn’t exult in the flesh.  How is this possible?

Four. 4. Quatre.

Nellie was two years older than me. For two years I was catching up to her life – in my mind. Since then, I get confused. How can I be here and she is not – still? It doesn’t seem fair. It doesn’t seem right that there is a granddaughter, named for her, and she didn’t share one hour of the pregnancy, birth and wonderful life of baby Katherine with my daughter and her family.

I know she is happy in Heaven. Got it. Yet, I feel her loss – what she is missing here – like a knife in the heart. I ache for what she would have loved because I can’t really comprehend her missing it – and being happier. So, I don’t get it.

I have survivor confusion.

And survivor gratitude. The gift of my home, Sanctuary, as my sanctuary makes me grateful – daily without fail. I didn’t earn or deserve it. I had given up my desire to live in a place with great esthetics. Almost 17 years after I get the message, “I’ll take care of the details”, from the Lord, I move into a gifted place of constant, exquisite beauty to grieve. To live again.

Living again means loving anew with gratefulness.

I asked my kids for their blessing to have female companionship in September 2014. I found out I wasn’t ready to date. But, over time I became able to share time and experiences with women, who weren’t my wife. That was so discordant for so long – to spend any time with a woman – it was like a loud gong in my head. I wasn’t ready for prime time for a long time.

Now, here I am courting a woman I love. We were penpals for 9 months before we ever met. We’re building a long-distance relationship shortened by Facetime and deepened by long visits.

I recall what my friend Danny Goad said to me in Roanoke – during early deep grief – about when he became a widower in his 30s with four kids. His grandfather told him that the Lord God doesn’t expand the human heart by adding to it. When we experience the birth of another child, or to love and marry again after death of a spouse, our Lord Jesus Christ multiplies the love in the human heart.

Survivor confusion is about my survival without my late wife, not about living life again. In fact, it’s truly remarkable to be at this end of life and feel so much like I did at the other, younger start. It’s wonderful, not confusing, to be old and feel young and very alive. It’s a blessing to feel your heart expand by His multiplication. It’s always a blessed anniversary, too.

The Lord multiplies the capacity of the human heart.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | April 21, 2017

Corey Stewart: When Bold Is Best

Corey is the only bold, Conservative candidate for Governor

Since the Virginia Republicans increased taxes in 2004, I’ve looked for a Conservative champion for our Commonwealth. Ken Cuccinelli could have been him, but the android who ran using his name ended that quest. I’ll settle for bold. I support bold because weak never wins. Corey Stewart is bold. Fast Eddie Gillespie, despite the conservative positions he regurgitates today, is as weak as when he lost the last time. Ed was the only one to lose in a Conservative tsunami election year.

The attacks on Corey are very personal, penetrating and petty. It’s all about Corey’s flaws and failings. The attacks on Ed are about principles and policy. It’s all about his record as a money-man, professional pol and Establishment guy and his unwillingness to be brave on issues today. Those criticisms say much about the candidates.

When Ed dodges the Transgender folly or cultural-cleansing of all things Confederate – saying they are local issues, Corey speaks up.

Where Ed is running in Virginia because it’s his address outside of Washington, Corey has served in local government where he makes his home in Virginia. Neither were born here, nor was I – although I have ancestral Virginia roots – but Corey established networks of family, church and business connections in Prince William County, not on K Street.

Corey let bold become brash – and learned a life lesson getting fired from the Trump campaign. When did Ed ever stick his perfumed neck out? Ever? Name his bold stand. Was it for apple pie or the American flag?

Corey has had his picture taken with Confederate battle flags in the background. Ed would have the vapors if he got near anything Southern. The Dems, dimwits and Liberals who will use that against Corey in the general election are NEVER going to vote for Ed anyway.

The Republicans and Conservatives who accuse him of hijacking the issue – expose their own inability to understand the all of Virginia history belongs to all Virginians, new and old. If our history only fits different groups of Virginians selectively, then our folks are playing the identity politics of the Left. If Republicans reject historical correctness and pride in heritage to banish Confederate history, they are pathetic pawns of the Left preaching on the one way street of Tolerance and Inclusiveness – which excludes Southerners, Christians and, increasingly so all Whites.

Corey will be vilified in the general election. So, will Ed, again. My very conservative oldest daughter said she wouldn’t vote for Ed – last time – when she saw the attack ads on Ed’s record. What will be different this time?

Dear Conservative friends and colleagues of mine are on Ed’s team. I don’t begrudge them their doomed choice. But, I’m not buying Ed’s Conservative credibility. I was on RPV State Central when Ed was pushing HB 3202 – the worst piece of legislation since Massive Resistance and declared unconstitutional by unanimous State Supreme Court decision. Yes, he’ll be more conservative than the Dems. A rock would be too.

Corey stood up against illegal immigration. Corey will be bold.

The sainted Ronald Reagan made his signature speech about painting Conservativism with bold colors. Corey Stewart is a bold leader.

Please vote for a bold Conservative, Corey Stewart, in the Republican primary on June 13, 2017

James Atticus Bowden

 

Vote for courage.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | March 18, 2017

Timing Is Everything

Many times the Bible talks about His timing and its perfection.

Timing Is Everything

Timing is everything – when it really matters – in love, war, comedy, crops, music, sports, politics, and you name it. “Timing is Everything” is one of my pat phrases. Ask my kids. It’s included with “This/Such is Life”, “Life is Short”, “Ça ne fait rien”, and “People are People” in my top ten clichés and French phrases that meme significant truths. I stumbled on God’s truths when I prepared my 30 year old vision piece.

I found a promise from 1997 was fulfilled in 2014. I had totally forgotten about it. The promise was in my prayer journal. The Lord told me, “I’ll take care of the details.”

Since I was 6 years old I wanted to live in The Valley (a.k.a. Shenandoah Valley) or the eastern slope of Virginia’s Blue Ridge where the Piedmont tumbles out before your eyes in broad vistas. After we moved to Tidewater Virginia, when I was 39, I fell in love with The Bay (a.k.a. Chesapeake Bay). My many business trips to NoVA and Maryland allowed me to check out every waterfront on the Virginia peninsulas that jut into The Bay.

My prayer journal started in 1994. I write very little in it. A few words may pass for a year and be written over a year after the event. Yet, it matters to me. It captures key stepping stones on the path of my walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.

So, in June 1997 I wrote, “Wanting and working for the house on the water.” Then, the response I got from the Lord was, “I’ll take care of the details.” It was a clear thought in my head. A year later I got to build the house my wife always wanted. Not on the water. I wrote, “No to house on water.”

In 2007 my wife refused to sign a contract for a house wrecked by Hurricane Isabelle on gorgeous water – and a setting in my novel, Rosetta 6.2 She wouldn’t say why. Who knew her “No” would serve His “wait for something better”?

In 2009 I went to a Christian men’s retreat. I gave up every desire of my heart. Really. I surrendered the expectation to see prayers answered in my lifetime to the most honest, best of my ability. Seriously – to the core of my being. Most of my prayers were for family member issues. I gave up seeing them resolved in my lifetime. I gave up seeing any of my aspirations and desires fulfilled. Living with great esthetics in the beauty of nature – on the water – was one of those desires. I asked the Lord God what He wanted me to do with my time here. “Please show me simply and clearly.”

In 2014 after my wife died, I found waterfront close to home had a huge drop in price. I bought it with the blessing of my adult children. It’s three doors down from the place we could have bought in 2007. It’s less than half the cost.

I named my home “Sanctuary” because it is.

Almost twenty years after I got the message, “I’ll take care of the details,” He did. Wow. His timing was to give it to me at the precise moment of overwhelming grief and sadness. Many hours on the dock, deck and looking out the windows have been a healing balm. Sanctuary is saturated in peace and joy.  It held my tears in confidence.  Sanctuary echoes the squeals of joy from my grandchildren. It makes visitors gasp. I live in a place of incredible, awesome, ever-changing, overwhelming beauty. Even the storms are beautiful in their power.

I say out loud every morning when I rise, “Thank You, Lord.” I confess how much I don’t deserve it and how sweet He is to a sinner like me to give me such a gift.

I’m still spinning from stumbling upon my prayer journal entry. I had forgotten. However faithful I’ve been about reading and writing for 30 years, the Lord Jesus Christ is more than faithful. Every promise in the Bible and every prayer is fulfilled. His word never returns empty.

Rainbows follow the storms.

Morning has broken -July 21, 2016. God makes all things new.

Amazing beauty

Let it rain. Rainbow follows.

Every day has its on constantly changing tapestry

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | March 17, 2017

Obligatory St. Patrick’s Day Ode

What I wear on St Patrick’s day beneath my orange Univ of VA “Virginia” sweatshirt.

Happy St Patrick’s Day, 2017!

My great-grandmother Maley and others in our bloodline gave us our unique Irish heritage by stirring it well with others (Scottish, English, Welsh, and French Huguenot) as Southerners. We have no connections to the past that haven’t been strained through many generations of the American Experience.  We have no kin in the auld sod.

Still, fun stuff to know what happened in history and see how “Culture Commands”. The Scot-Irish sense of family, faith, freedom is alive today – and vibrant.

Fun fact: At the time of the Revolution the 13 colonies were 98-99% Protestant. The diversity of the day was the sects who warred so bitterly in the English Civil War united as Americans. And, American Catholics and Jews, as well, paid the blood tax. Scot-Irish were 15% of the population and 40% of the Army.

America is “My Country” to all Americans.  The intensity we many deplorables of Scot-Irish heritage apply to the words “My Country” has a history back to America’s foundation.  Ancestors not present at the creation doesn’t make anyone who believes in America less American.  Ancestors present at the creation doesn’t prevent way too many from betraying their American trust and heritage – as well as walking away from the one, only, true, living, triune God.  Just know how passionately loyal many of us Scot-Irish Americans remain about the ascending idea of “America.”

Born fighting for family, faith, freedom.

I’m more Scot by blood than Scot-Irish, but more Scot-Irish by culture (which commands!) than anything.  So, the “born fighting” moniker from James Webb should be – actually – family, family, family, faith, freedom!

Born Fighting for family, faith, freedom

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | March 15, 2017

My 30 Year Old Vision

My vision was personal, yet Aslan’s breath brings life to all kinds of visions

My 30 Year Old Vision

I’ve had one mystical, religious vision in my life. It happened 30 years ago, March 15th, 1987 on Range 214 at Grafenwoehr, Germany. Frequently, I believe the Creator of the entire Universe gives me messages in how I feel after I read, think, hear, see, or sense different things. That’s not a vanity, but shared reality for believing Christians. Occasionally, I have very specific words, appear as thoughts which seem to come from outside my mind to me. I had two dreams unlike all other dreams after my Father died and before my Mother died. But, I’ve only had one vision.

I’ve written the narrative of my vision many times – even put it in the foreword to Rosetta 6.2 – and told a number of people.

The short version begins when I saw my Father in a dream unlike any dream the night he died. He told me, without speaking, “I’m okay, I’m all right,” and shared his compassion for me. After that I prayed daily for 7 years for a clear sign of how we actually go to one space and time – Heaven – in this vast cosmos.

Then, in the space of a few seconds or minutes, not sure which, as I walked behind the range to the Quonset huts at sunset, the sky lit up – all pink – and a warm air blew through my ribs and filled me like a balloon. It was the best feeling of joy and peace I’ve ever had in my life. Ever. The thought “There is a warmth and a light on the other side,” reassured me in many ways beyond the simple words that our identities with memories go to another place. Then, I was shocked with the thought, “You will not command in peace or war. You will read and write.”

Commanding in the Army was the focus of my life. A few months later my beloved Army career was crushed like a bug. (Color commentary is best added in person.)

It’s 30 years later.

I was in recovery – that’s what my wife and I called it – working hard in a different unit for 2 years. Then, spent another frenetic year as an Army speech writer. I started writing after work in 1990 – novel published in 2007. Started op eds in 2001. Blog in 2005. Did a lot of reading. Still, I beat myself up for not pushing harder to read and write more. I’m keenly aware my time is running out.

The Ides of March is a demarcation line in my life. My one vision changed my life.

I never thought about death the same. I got a context for my most humiliating personal defeat. “His will, not mine” has an expressed purpose in my life. Later, it was easy to see why His wisdom prevailed over my ardent will. And, I feel like I got the tiniest taste of what it’s like to be near the Lord in Heaven. The good feeling of the warm wind was beyond my description.

A lot of living and some dying filled the 30 years. My task to read and write remains. It was woven in the fabric of my day job, my passions and purposeful works. His assurance about Heaven has helped me face my wife and sister’s passing as well as my recent ER visits with accepting peace. I’ll obey the compelling urgency to read and write.

If you have a question, ask the Lord. I got an answer that changed my life – in 7 years. Since every person has gifts – with absolutely no one beneath or incapable of serving, do you know your mission? Ask.

Graf. Old soldiers know it well.

Range 214 was Bradley range on far left of map.

In the 80s weapons were fired 364 days a year.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | March 2, 2017

Elizabeth Anne Bowden Buehrer

My sisters and me.

My sisters and me.

My oldest sister, Babs, passed from life here to life eternal in Heaven today.  She was 72 years old.  She died suddenly after years of suffering a significant decline in health – after many, many mini-strokes.  My sister was a sweet, gentle, loving soul for all of her life.  She could be stubborn and fierce in defense of her family – and doing rightly.  She is a devout Christian who raised 3 magnificent, devoted daughters – all married to good men, raising 6 great kids – and living her legacy already in their day to day lives.  Every time I visited them in far off California, I choked up thinking about how proud and happy our parents would be for Babs, our “Bumpy”, and her brood.

I’ll write more later.  Still in a bit of shock.

Babs was a wonderful, sweet older sister.  Precious to her parents, her siblings and all her loved ones.

While my niece was still telling me what happened, my thoughts flashed to my parents greeting her in Heaven.  And, her beloved cousin Susan – like a sister – who preceded her in death last year.  And, my late wife, Nellie Katherine.  Their gain is great.  Our loss here – especially to her daughters – is great.

God is good.  All the time.  No matter what.  NO MATTER WHAT.

June 1965

June 1965

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | December 25, 2016

Merry CHRISTmas Friends!

Merry CHRISTmas from my home, Sanctuary, and heart to you and yours.

Merry CHRISTmas from my home, Sanctuary, and heart to you and yours.

Merry CHRISTmas Friends,

Blessings on the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ in His flesh, Friends.  By Friends, I include the 4, 948 ‘friends’ on Facebook.  You are close family, Clan kin, West Point classmates – my band of brothers, old Soldier comrades, former colleagues, Church family, political buddies (otherwise known as unindicted co-conspirators), neighbors, friends and friends of my late Nellie who I’ve seen, shared words and time.  And, the huge majority of you are folks I’ve never seen or heard.

Yet, I count many of you as actual friends – some good acquaintances – because you’ve shared life and responded when I shared life on social media. We are friends because I sent a request to you as a Christian, Conservative, Constitutionalist or Southerner.  Or, you sent me a request because my grandkids are adorable.  Regardless, our connection makes Zuckerberg filthy rich, because he tapped into our humanity.  Our need to communicate.  Our need for community and companionship.  So many of our drives, as the social animals we humans are, are linked by social networking – all puns intended.

Because of our humanity, everything we touch will be soiled by our evil and bettered by our good – which comes from our relationship with the one, only, true, living God.  The Father, Son and Holy Spirit of the Holy Bible gives us gifts to share.

First is life itself.  We can speak life to others.  We can share our support and stand up in cyberspace – to stand up in person as called, for life.  All life matters.  Even the lives of our sworn enemies – and their eternal spirits count.

Second is love.  We can share agape (undeserved selfless love – Grace), philos (friendship), storge (family) and eros (romantic – within the rules) love.  The first three out of four are well suited and perfect for social networking through cyber space to make a real difference in the lives of others.

Third is light.  We can promote encouragement, exhortation, and education.  For me, that’s the chief connection with you assorted Christians, Conservatives, Constitutionalists and Southerners.  We help one another by shining light against the darkness.   I was told, “You will read and write” on March 15, 1987.  So, I do.

Finally for this piece – because there is much more to be said about our networking, is laughing and crying.  We can share a good funny and give compassion as the opportunity arises and the need demands.  You are so good at this.

Thank you for all you said and did in 2016.

Life is about relationships.  Period.  True, we have to do our duties, but all that matters once they’re done, really, is relationships.  Foremost with the Lord Jesus Christ and then with all others.

God is good.  All the time.  No matter what  No matter what.

Merry CHRISTmas 2016 and Happy New Year 2017!

James Atticus Bowden

Sanctuary – Poquoson, Virginia

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | November 17, 2016

Substance Without Stature

This is fun way to tell a personal tale in graphics.  Icons are colorful and cute.

This is fun way to tell a personal tale in graphics. Icons are colorful and cute.

Substance, Not Stature

On November 18th, 2016, I’m 66 years old. It’s been almost 3 years since my wife died. Nellie, the professional counselor, talked many times about grieving being a two year process to the “new normal”. I’m a year past the new normal. So, who am I now?

I’m as alive as I’ve ever been. My soul, that lifeforce, tells me I’m 25 – not kidding. My body and the mirror dispute it. But, I know who I am quite clearly. I’m man of considerable substance and little stature. That’s stature as the world measures people.

Now, why would I write something so self-serving? Because my tale might encourage. Also, because it’s the me that’s been told since my 30’s that I wear my heart on my sleeve and that I’m ‘fey’ in the good Scottish connotation.

Most of who I am comes from relationships with others – starting with the one, only, true, living God. Some of what matters in me comes from persevering through challenges in life. Much of my substance comes from the failures which actually gave me my lack of a stature.

Life is about relationships. It begins with the “I AM – I” of God to man or woman. All other relationships are shaped by that presence or absence. On Nellie’s 50th birthday she told everyone I had taught her ‘unconditional love.’ I’d just passed on what the Lord gave me. My relationships evolved since I started daily Bible reading at age 32 and teaching Sunday School since age 42. I learned the two greatest commandments are LOVE God with all your heart, mind, strength, soul and LOVE others as you LOVE yourself. Love is the only verb. Love times three.

When I was 16 my Daddy had a massive heart attack. I pondered life and decided that I didn’t need a life philosophy – of what to live for, but a death philosophy – what is worth dying for. That gave me to hierarchy of duties which I followed since I went to West Point at age 17. One of my few regrets about being 66, is I’d like to fight in the U.S. Culture War and the World War against Islamists for another 30 or 40 years.

My challenges in life were a big deal to me, but hardly the stuff to win “Queen for a Day” on the old TV show. Enduring, persevering, and overcoming taught life lessons. But, delving into them is too much ‘me’ stuff. Personally, nothing in my life compares to losing my wife of 38 years.  Nothing.  The key truth to share is our Bowden-Maley Clan saying: “God is good all the time. No matter what. No matter what.”

As my kin know: “Never, never, never quit. Never.”

My failures taught me tons. I was fired and had my career crushed like a bug, passed over, lost my job when we lost the contract, had insult added to injury when I was let go because I made too much money – seriously, been on unemployment, had awful ‘Jerry Springer’ moments in family affairs, lost my only run for public office, and came in ‘second’ (you know that’s the first…) on key competitions, made choices that limited opportunities (woulda, coulda, shoulda), and, moreover, sinned by thought, word and deed. Consequently, I’m not on President-Elect Trump’s short list for anything. Yet, I learned from each failure more than any victory.

If I went insane and ran for office again, say dog catcher, I think I’d tout my failures as why folks should vote for me. Defeat, failure and humiliation teaches lessons success can’t instruct.  Such disappointments can change how one sees, respects and serves others – for the better.

There’ve been wins. I like the wins. I’ve been embarrassed when people gave me such superlative comments that I could only wish were true. But, the truth is my wins don’t really matter. Nothing matters more than relationships – and doing my duties.

At age 66, I’m up for my duties and relationships as Papa, Daddy, kin, friend, colleague (co-conspirator), Sunday School teacher, neighbor and citizen – and old soldier.  I’m up for hard work and a good fight, if it’s worth having.

Months after Nellie died, my political buddy, Danny Goad, told me in his unmistakable Appalachian accent about being a very young widower with small children. His Christian grandfather told him that as a parent feels their heart grow with each new child, his broken heart would love again. Granddaddy said, God doesn’t do addition, God multiplies the love in the human heart. I see that truth as I’m courting a lady in a relationship of surprising joy, peace, contentment and happiness.

Good substance and small stature is all right for 66.

Told on March 15, 1987, “You will read and write.”  As of November 18, 2016,  I “ain’t” dead yet.

One life lived. Five futures begun - so far.  God is good.  All the time. No matter what.

One life lived. Five futures begun – so far. God is good. All the time. No matter what.

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