“My Sister Died of an Overdose”

Tricia on far right… author, third from right

The Summer 2018 issue of Plough Magazine focuses on ‘medicine’ and is appropriately titled “The Soul of Medicine.”  While every article packs a punch, one article in particularly- “Let Me Stand” – struck me with the force of a powerfully swung two-by-four landing squarely in the center of my forehead.

Humanizing Medicine

As readers of this website know, what the American population, captains of industry, political representatives, etc. refer to as ‘healthcare,’ I refer to as sickcare.  While that is another issue unto itself, Plough Magazine addresses medicine – irrespective of whether you call it healthcare or sickcare – in a very humanizing way that makes more sense to me than anything I’ve read about medicine in recent years.  Case in point, “Let Me Stand.”

Pastor Mark Schloneger

The author, Mark Schloneger, is the pastor of North Goshen Mennonite Church in Goshen, Indiana and he tells the painful story of his younger sister who was the brunt of every bad choice she – and more often – those around her made.

“When my sister Tricia as three years old,” Pastor Schloneger begins, “Heather pushed her down… Last year, grieving my sister’s death, I remembered the Heather Incident and wept.  ‘Heather pushed me down’ was a three-year-old’s cry for justice, a tiny fist raised in defiance against the powers conspiring against her…”

No Time for Judgment

Each of us has crossed paths with the Tricia’s of the world.  It may be by ‘first separation,’ or it may be by ‘seventh separation.’  Regardless, we have all had contact with the human being who was ‘pushed down.’  I worked directly for many years with Carl Zawatski and his homeless friends in the Tucson community.  Frankly, there were times when I became very irritated with the ‘homeless’ attitude.  Carl was always there to remind me not to judge the homeless people whose lives intersected with ours.  “I have no idea what circumstances and what choices these people made that brought them here, but I do know they need help and that is what I am going to do.”

You are not too busy to read this article.  Consider it MANDATORY.  Please click this link and read

Let Me Stand

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2 Responses to “My Sister Died of an Overdose”

  1. Randy Leavitt says:

    This is a very moving story. It hurts to read it.

    • tVM says:

      I feel the same way… very difficult to read, but I find the final thoughts uplifting: “With smoke on my clothes, I gave thanks to God for Tricia – deeply flawed, deeply human, deeply loved, and deeply loving. Only God knows how many times we fall. Only God knows how many times no one is there to pick us up. But this I believe: the living Christ waits in the places where we fall. Together, my sister, we rise.” I have shared before my deep conviction that we are all flawed, and that is why we fall, but when we do, ‘Christ waits in the places where we fall.’

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