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"Hi, Dad!"
Andy Bustanoby
(C) October 1, 2005

         He was a good looking, well-built young man.  He greeted me with
     a smile and said, "Hi, Dad!"
         "Do I know you?" I asked.
         "I'm your third son!"
         "You're not my third son.  My third son is Peter."
         "No," he replied.  "I'm your third son.  Peter is your fourth
     son.  Jonathan is your fifth son.  Stephen and David are your first
     and second sons."

     Then I snapped out of my fantasy.  I wasn't in heaven as I
     imagined.  I was drifting in my boat on calm water thinking of
     eternity, thinking of my family--four sons, ten grandchildren and
     four great-grandchildren.  But, yes, a fifth son came into sight in
     my fantasy.  Having sired four sons, I can imagine this fifth child
     is also a son.  Let me explain.

         When I was in seminary over forty-five years ago, my wife became
     pregnant for the third time.  We had two wonderful sons already,
     Steve and Dave, and looked forward to the birth of a third child.
     The doctor had told us that Fay's pregnancy was going normally and
     that the child was developing properly.
         Early one morning Fay developed abdominal cramps, went to the
     bathroom, and in a few minutes urgently called me.
         "Come here!  I've had a miscarriage.  I need your help."
         When I went into the bathroom she said, "I need you to pull the
     umbilical cord loose."
         Dumbfounded, and in a daze I did as I was instructed--pulled the
     cord loose, and the dead fetus fell into the toilet.
         We called the doctor who came by to see her and look at the
     fetus.  When he came he asked, "Where is the fetus?"
         "In the bathroom," I replied.
         We went to the bathroom, and he asked again, "Where is the
         "It's in the toilet."
         The doctor looked at me as if to say, "Well, get it."
         I was still in a daze, but got a wash basin, reached into the
     bloody water, and retrieved the fetus.
         It looked like a small human child.  I couldn't guess the age,
     and the doctor never told us.  In fact, he told us very little and
     left.  Yes, left us with the fetus.
         I don't remember much after that except that I asked a seminary
     buddy to help me bury the fetus.  I needed someone with me for
     emotional strength.  This was not a fetus.  It was our expected
     third child.

     This is what my fantasy was all about.  I was in heaven with my
     family--not four sons, but with five sons.  I have thought of this
     before-- that I really have five children, probably all sons.  But
     this is the first time in my world of fantasy that I saw him and met

     You see, I'm one of those people who believes that human life starts
     at conception.  David the psalmist said, "Behold, I was shapen in
     iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me . . ." (Ps. 51: 5
     KJV).  Only of a human being can it be said that he was conceived as
     a sinner.  And only by the grace of God can such a sinner find a
     home in heaven.

     Yes, he's gone ahead of the rest of the family.  But a reunion is
     coming.  It won't be too long before his mother and I will see him.
     This time I'll be able to answer him.  My first words will be, "Hi,
     son.  Give us a hug."

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