There Is Nothing But Truth
In A Moment Like That


The night David died I was invited over to the hospital with his family there. I was invited to go in and say goodbye.
I remember being just shocked by the ravages of cancer. It was the first time, the only time in my life, that I’ve ever said goodbye to someone who is about to die.
David obviously wasn’t talking but I believed he could hear and I said some things to him and I said goodbye.
There is nothing but truth in a moment like that.

This anecdote was buried in a profile of Andrew Denton from 1997.

That line, there is nothing but truth in a moment like that, doesn’t leave you.

The morning after reading the line, I bumped into an acquaintance in a conference hallway.

After dispensing with small talk, he shared his real reason for being there. He was in town to take his young daughter, now in remission from cancer, to the hospital where she was undergoing testing.

There is nothing but truth in a moment like that.

Conference hallways are the opposite of truth. Everyone’s showing face, answering emails, looking busy, cutting deals, telling a grand story.

Everyone’s growing, everyone’s making it, everyone’s getting along.

There is nothing but duplicity in a conference hallway like that.

Most of life’s moments conceal truth in a combination of enactment, effort, fatigue, illusion, improv and confusion.

That concealment, day after day, can ossify. You can wake up and no longer see that you can walk and run. You have freedom to write and read without fear. You have freedom to be with the people you love.

You can agonise for days over a contract, or an insult, or a silence.

You can obsess over the colour of the paint on your bedroom walls, or the price of milk, or the lateness of a train.

Life can feel like suffering, even when it’s self-inflicted.

Sometimes finding truth, harrowing as it can be, is its own consolation.

Sometimes it’s the only way to crack through the concealment, to reveal again what matters.

A child’s life. An aching moment. A fine rain. An autumn turning.

There is nothing but truth in a moment like that.