"Truth" is such a hard word to put into a
box and view objectively. After all, just what does
it mean? And since we all agree fundamentally that
each person's truths are a matter of individual
perspective, how can we possibly be able to define the
term? After all, my truth is that doughnuts taste
awesome, for the most part, but I know other people whose
truth is that doughnuts don't taste good at all.
Flannery, of course, is more than likely talking about
objective truths. It is true, for example, that over
five million children die each year of causes related to
hunger and malnutrition. That is an objective
fact. Yet what are the truths behind that
fact? For one person, one truth may be, "That's
really sad, but that's happening far away from me, in a
country where I have no influence at all, so there's
nothing I can do about it. This, of course, is true
But my lack of influence doesn't change the fact that
10,000 children are dying daily from hunger, even though
the world does produce enough food to feed everyone.
Our explanations of our own truths are simply a way to
distance ourselves from the reality, and they help us to
cope with what could otherwise be a completely
overwhelming concept (even as I write this, the thought
threatens to overwhelm me).
We all cope with the unpleasant in different ways.
But the unpleasant remains the unpleasant. I think
what Flannery is hoping that we learn from her words is
the idea that we need to be aware of truths completely,
and not explain them away or avoid them, for only with
full awareness can we hope to create our own lives as a
part of the whole of human existence. If your friend
is hurting, don't explain it away or avoid it--know it,
feel it, and do what you can about it, no matter how
slight your effort may seem to be.