‘Why I told the truth about my health’

March 22, 2017


Sometimes in our modern world we keep up appearances despite the cost.


As teenagers and 20-somethings, we are creating our own images and finding our place in life, so appearances feel vital to our success. 


Yet as we get older—perhaps decades older—it becomes easier to embrace the truth and cover our true feelings and emotions less.


I was reminded of this on reading a story in Fairfax media that had the headline “Parkinson’s battle a senator’s story”.


Sadly, in politics appearances and saying the politically wise thing is often valued above telling the truth, because truth can be dangerous and have ramifications.


National Party senator for NSW, John Williams decided he wasn’t going to hide his serious health secret, telling the world that he is battling Parkinson’s disease.


The catalyst was running into an old friend who had been suffering from the same disease for four years. The change in Williams’ friend was so dramatic that it caused the senator to rethink his own approach.


He sought his wife Nancy’s advice about whether to go public with his health battle. Her response was succinct.


“Nancy said ‘Well, you’ve always been a straight shooter, you may as well just tell everyone the truth,’” Williams told Fairfax media.


Within minutes of appearing on television, he was sent more than 50 text messages of support, and found himself taking calls from senior politicians from all sides.


So rather than continuing to battle on his own, Williams decided to be brave and publicly admit to his health crisis.


And this is where human nature can surprise and delight us—instead of criticism and disparagement, Williams received genuine good will and support.


Williams’ experience reflects what we read about in the book of John in the Bible.


“You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John chapter 8, verse 32).


It’s good to remember that telling the truth can be a truly liberating experience.

Just ask Senator John Williams.


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Vol. 139, No. 14 // 11 April 2020

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