Larry K. is his name. I met Larry the street corner poetry busker a couple weeks ago, just as Spring tried desperately but failed to make a full appearance in our chilly mid-western city.
Sitting in his wheelchair writing poems on the spot isn't as popular as music busking. Most days, 'business' is poor. A local church has helped house Larry to keep him off the street.
Last week, a city news reporter wrote his story in her Sunday column, hoping to raise community awareness. I was only sorry she didn't share one of his poems. His situation is devastating in many ways, yet his writing is profoundly touching.
However, the reporter's story revealed the facts of Larry's heart-wrenching life.
Running from his Christian home in his late teens, Larry became trapped in the drug scene and street life, working as a pimp, and playing 'god' with the lives of young women turning tricks. The life took its toll...mental health issues ensued.
By age 30 Larry found himself at a Salvation Army hostel. Not wanting to live, he found his way out to a ledge of the building, jumping from several stories up. He survived but would never walk again.
Although I had spoken with Larry a couple times, stirred by the powerfully spiritual poems he wrote so effortlessly, I only learned of his tragic story in the news column. I also learned that Larry's fall took place just before spring five years ago and only two short weeks before my beloved 20 year old niece fell to her untimely death in a tragic unsolved and probably drug-related incident.
Early spring will always hold sad memories for our family.
Which is perhaps why the poem Larry wrote for me today on the subject of springtime holds special meaning:
Til the end of time
Summer and Winter
Springtime and Harvest
That these shall not cease is
A promise of God.
And to everything is a seaon
Death, Life, Birth.
Daytime and Evening.
Springtime is when life bursts through
Death and Decay.
To bring rejuvenation
We need its rainy days.
A seed falls to the earth and dies.
Rain waters it and though the seed dies
It brings life.
Christ's words were so true
That it would not be the end
When He was crucified.
He drank a rainy cup of death
To the dregs
Rising again to give life
To all who confess.
The end of time, of life
May seem a final death too.
But it is Eternity's Springtime.
May we be ready for that Springtime
that the seed of Life
may not fall in vain.