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Don’t Fear the Truth

Earlier this week, I toured the Barnes Museum. If you live in Philadelphia or plan to visit, it’s a tour worth taking. I am not an art aficionado. In fact, I often look at pieces and do not understand them. I do like history, though, so the story of how Dr. Barnes amassed such a large private collection and then left it in his Merion, PA home for the public to enjoy is fascinating. For 90 years (1922-2012), his former neighbors protested the traffic this attraction drew to an otherwise quiet neighborhood until the Barnes Foundation relented and a new home for the collection was built in Philadelphia’s museum district. Imagine leaving such a gift to the public and posthumously annoying your neighbors at the same time—now that is masterful multi-tasking! ? During the visit, we saw the current special exhibition, which showcased the art and pottery of the Navajo people. I saw a quote from a screenplay by Virgil Ortiz that stuck with me: “seek the truth, defeat your fear.”  

The quote is powerful: it inspires action, and led me to wonder why fear the truth? I, looking into it further, learned a new term “alethophobia”, which is defined as “the fear or dislike of the truth or an unwillingness to come to terms with truth or facts.” This doesn’t make sense to me. Why are people afraid of the truth? What can be so bad about it? Granted, there are many truths, but the truth is the truth, regardless of how we feel about it. 

Most of you know I recently underwent a medical procedure. Many have asked me what prompted me to get checked. The simple answer is that I had several symptoms indicating something wasn’t right. The more complicated answer is that I was determined to know the truth, so I could assess the situation and act upon it. I asked a lot of questions, went through a barrage of tests, and continued to push for answers with each negative result. I knew something wasn’t right, but not knowing the truth was more frightening than the alternative. I pushed for answers until the final test gave me one. I was right; something was wrong. I needed two stents to open the arteries in my heart. It should have been scary; it was my heart, after all! I really do have one, the doctor found it ?! It wasn’t scary for me, though. 

Since I prepared by asking questions, without fear of the truth, I was anxious but not overly concerned. The truth informed my decision to have the procedure while also preparing me for it. I knew exactly what to expect and the procedure went well. Friends and family were more concerned about the procedure than I was! 

So, why is it that we so often don’t want to know or think we can’t face the truth? Why not seek it out, get informed, and take the steps that are within your control to improve your outcomes? If it’s good news, why not push yourself to get the answers you need to set aside your fears? Either way, good news or bad, wouldn’t you rather know what you are dealing with? The truth is the truth. Knowing it will not change it, but it may change your reaction to it.  

What truths will you uncover this weekend?  

“We are not here concerned with hopes or fears, only with the truth as far as our reason allows us to discover it.” – Charles Darwin 

Have a great weekend.