How I Define "Home"

| 10/25/2016 9:41:00 AM

Liberty V JusticePolice officers care about us; they wouldn’t take such a dangerous job for such measly pay if they didn’t have the heart of a hero. Heroes love. Heroes help. Heroes support, encourage, and lift others up. If you see a police officer, go shake their hand. Say, “Thank you. I appreciate you.” Don’t take for granted what they do for us. There’s a lot about them that you’ll never see in the paper or the news.

What I didn’t write in The State article last year was that I’m an ex-addict with no record, but multiple arrests. Without going into detail, I have good reason to fear harm from police. Officer Greg Alia came at time in my life when I felt the most insecure, worried, and distrustful of people in authority, and he unshackled me.

Our 2 a.m. meeting at Groucho’s Restaurant in Forest Acres was Greg’s opportunity to do something about injustice. I sarcastically asked, “Are y’all that bored?” — that was the lubricant that oiled us up and we had a real conversation. “We’re that bored,” he said. I’ll never forget that. I felt so comfortable with him, just as I do my own brother. Greg felt like home.

He respected me, and even admired me for sticking by Christ. I distinctly remember his response when I said, “Love ain’t what ya say, it’s what ya do.” I immediately saw a spark in his eyes. He must’ve been thinking about his wife, Kassie.

He said, “What if I paid for your hotel room tonight?” Greg didn’t know I prayed specifically, “God, I know you’re going to provide a place for me to sleep tonight. I trust you.”

You can call it “Southern Hospitality.” I call it Christ. Greg gave me more faith. My only regret was not giving him a hug.