He’s mine

The Lee family has always been good to me. I’ve been branded as something of a “bad seed” by most of the neighborhood, shunned by most families. But the Lees have always welcomed me into their home, allowed me to hang out with their second son Brian, my best friend. They invited me stay for dinner countless times when I sort of lingered into the evening, having nowhere else to go. Mrs. Lee’s cooking is the best. The Lees have always been good to me, that’s why it was so hard when I decided to steal their car.

There were tears forming in my eyes, but I had to laugh. A broken taillight. I had been halfway across town when I was pulled over. No license and I had no idea where Mr. Lee kept his registration. They cuffed me, put me in the back of their cruiser and the officer’s partner drove the Civic back to the Lee’s place after they looked up who it belonged to. The officer, a big guy, maybe a hundred pounds heavier than me, a hard face but not unkind, led me up the walk, gripping me firmly at the elbow. The cuffs were still on as he knocked on the door. A few minutes later, Mr. Lee opened the door, I could see Mrs. Lee, Brian and his little sister standing back in the hallway, with worried looks on their faces.

Mr. Lee’s face was inscrutable. His eyes moved from the officer’s face to mine, to the cruiser in the driveway, the officer’s partner just getting out of his Civic…

“Good evening officer.”
“Sorry to bother you so late, sir. We picked him up down near the edge of town with a broken taillight. He didn’t have a license on him and won’t say anything when we ask him questions…”
“I see.” Mr. Lee frowned at me.

The tears welled up. This was it. I was going to jail. I guess it was about time. This wasn’t the first time I’d stolen or lied or cheated people who had been good to me. In fact, the good ones were the easiest to take advantage of. I wondered if my dad would even visit me. Why would he, I was already a disappointment to him, and he hadn’t had much to talk about since mom… we just left each other alone. I couldn’t believe I was going to cry, in front of the officers, the Lees, everyone. Insult to injury. I wondered what jail was like. I wondered what I would do when I got out. My life… well it was probably done. Done at 17. I wondered if anyone would miss me.

There was a moment of silence. Mr. Lee bit his lip, his brow knit, he was angry.

“Justin…”, he began looking straight at me, voice flat, I can’t believe you did this. After all we’ve done for you, this is how you repay us? Get out, don’t ever come back! I braced myself for the blow, for the words that always came.

“So he’s yours?” The officer asked, misunderstanding.

A pause. Mr. Lee was still staring into my eyes.

“Yes, he’s mine. Can you take those things off now?” The officer unlocked the cuffs, and let me go. Mr. Lee took me firmly by the shoulders and looked at me again.

“You had us scared, son.” He mussed my hair and wrapped me in his strong arms. “Go get yourself some dinner.”

Having grown up listening to alt rock and the likes of Eve 6, there is a large gap in my musical experience where “Good songs about Dads” should be. Enter: Country Music.

There is, I think, a profound and important need in all of us to be claimed. That is why it is so hard to be honest about who we are, to open up and be vulnerable to even our closest friends. If they are friends then in some way we have been accepted, claimed. But if they know this or that about us, will they let us go? Will we be rejected? The great comfort in the gospel is the mysterious act on God’s part of dying for those of us who kick and bite and scream and kill one another. An act made not less, but more unfathomable when you factor in God’s omniscience and perfect Goodness. God sees my heart in the full light of his knowledge and his glory, and yet by Jesus’ blood, if someone were to ask him (the enemy? my enemies? people who actually know me…) “This… this boy is yours? If only you knew what he’s done!”, His response, unflinchingly is always and forever, “Yes, he’s mine.”

Isn’t that all we want? For someone we love and respect and adore to, in our hour of greatest need, when we feel the lowest and the worst, for someone to Claim us? To point and say “Yes, yes, I know. I know it all and I claim it all. The pain, I claim it. The work it will take to make him Good, I claim it. Yes! He’s mine, always. I will and I have done everything for him.”

I yelled, “He’s mine, that one,
Got a wild-haired side and then some.
It’s no surprise what he’s done
He’s every last bit of my old man’s son
And I’ll take the blame
And claim him every time
Yeah man, he’s mine.”


~ by justinhong on April 21, 2012.

2 Responses to “He’s mine”

  1. i like, i like.
    also, happy birthday justin.

  2. so touching. i love it when you share true stories from your past.

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