(We are all homeless until We Get to Heaven)
A Tribute to Kevin Shearon, “Kasper”
As I step outside to greet the new day, the gentle breezes and sunshine wash over me like a warm ocean. I look around at my beautiful world, and I can see spring, gently touching the corners of the earth. The cluster of trees on the horizon are bursting with new growth and buds, yet for some they are still lying dormant, as winter is passing and coming to an end. I watched as the wind gently rocks the trees to and fro, and the trees beckon God above, by pointing gracefully to the sky. My heart is suddenly filled with a
fullness like never before, and all is well with my soul.
My heart had become heavy early this morning, as I had learned of the passing of a homeless friend, Kevin Shearon, “Kasper”. As I stood outside in the morning light, I knew in this instant, Kasper had made it home. Ode to a boy, a young man who walks the earth alone, yet finds hope in God, and is now home with Jesus.
Abused and neglected at a young age, he was taken away and put in the foster care system. This young man had spent most of his life in foster care. When he turned eighteen, he was released from the system and found himself homeless. While most young men are readying for college, this man was finding it hard to get work to support his own self. He was plagued with epilepsy and numerous other medical problems since a young boy, so he became a risk for employment.
A friend of mine had the honor of meeting this young man, five years ago, when her young son handed him a bible. Kasper wanted nothing more than to find the love he never had, a love he so desperately longed for. With bible in his backpack, he walked the streets and could often be found at the off ramp to the interstate. Here he would raise a sign and a reality that our young, homeless youth just want to work and live enriched lives. He’d stand there for hours holding this sign, while cars would pass him by. He’d pan handle for food and cash, carrying the biggest sign known to a homeless person. The bigger the better, so everyone could read his story as they drove by. Kasper was desperate for a job and a home more than anything in the world. The off ramp was never the same after he left each day. The area where he flew his sign would be pristine when he left because he always picked up all the litter, cars would toss out their car windows.
He became frustrated at times for the lack of support he received from community services to help him survive everyday life. He was constantly trying to get help with health care and a place of his own. Because he was young, single and only received a small amount of money from social security, it was virtually impossible for him to rent an apartment. He lived day to day, flying a sign for work and food. He would spend half a month in a hotel, while living the other half on the streets. He was drowning, while society turned their naked eye to the truth, these young people, the lost souls of our time are being tossed aside, once they reach the cut off age for Foster Care.
I met this young man three years ago while doing outreach at a local church. He was introduced to me as Kasper the white ghost, this was his name on the streets, and his smile immediately melted my heart. Kasper had heard stories about me doing random acts of kindness, so on this day he was especially proud. He was wearing a shirt with the initials R.A.K., and he immediately told me he was practicing acts of kindness too. He was handing out food to the homeless, what little he had to share. Kasper was a young, vibrant human being, who loved and laughed at life. Although society did not have the resources to keep him off the streets, Kasper continued to enrich the lives of others, including myself and my friend. He was always smiling, and I feel privileged to have known him for the short time I did. My friend and I volunteered helping to provide him with donated clothing, food and even taking him to our church. He could sit amongst my church congregation, and no one knew he was homeless. That’s the mindset he spread when you met him, you realized he was witty and had a story like everyone else. He was muddling through life just trying to make it from one day to the next. Every one of us is homeless, until we find our home in heaven.
My last conversation with Kasper was last week. I took him some food on the infamous street corner he was so well known for. As we spoke, he assured me he was okay, but that someday I’d probably find him dead in a ditch. This was Kasper’s way of letting you know his seizures were getting worse, and his health was deteriorating. There was medical treatment that could quite possibly lessen his seizure condition, but it would require insurance and brain surgery, in order to change his life.
Our society is a messed up world, where you have to literally jump through hoops to get any kind of assistance. I feel that things need to change in the foster care system, so our youth can prosper when they are released from the system. They just want to be productive individuals and lead vibrant lives.
The news came last night that Kasper, had passed away. I am so deeply saddened by the loss of this young soul. I know he has found his home in heaven, and he is pain free, smiling away. His ability to light up the world will never be forgotten. I’ve spoken to many people who know of this young man who hung out on a street corner “flying a sign”, he made an impact on our world, one smile at a time.
A Celebration of life
will be held this Saturday, March 19, 2016, 10am.
Center Point Church, Kelly Plaza, 1900 N Providence, Suite 120 Columbia, MO)