Living Free

Photo by Stephen Elliot in association with

The razor buzzes as I move it across the head of a customer. The smell of meat cooking over an open fire wafts its way across the street into my barbershop. Through the doorway of the shop, I see a police car stop in front of the meat stand.

For a second, my heartbeat quickens.

But then I take a deep breath
and remember—
I am done running.

For four years I ran from the law. I ran to stay free. I know what prison is—what cold handcuffs feel like on shaking wrists.

I thought that if I just stayed out of prison, I would be free. But the life I was living wasn’t free. I was in bondage to drugs, to alcohol, to fear—I wasn’t free.

When Jesus came into my life, he showed me a new way to live. For the first time in my life I experienced what real freedom felt like—freedom from guilt, fear and addiction.

But I wasn’t completely free yet. I still had two charges hanging over my head.

I couldn’t follow Jesus and continue to run from the law.

If I wanted to live fully free, I needed to make things right.

So I turned myself in, and braced for a return to prison.

Shockingly, they dropped the charges against me. I walked out of the police station that day with a new freedom.

I finish the haircut and shake out the apron as I prepare for the next customer.

I’ve made mistakes, but God
has given me a fresh start.

Most of my old friends are in prison or have been killed in gang violence. I want the next generation, the boys my brother’s age, to know what it really means to be free. I want them to see the joy I now live with, and know that they can live free, too.

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