Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Don't "Pluto" one another

'Plutoed' chosen as '06 Word of the Year - Sun Jan 7, 8:38 PM ET - ANAHEIM, Calif. - Pluto is finally getting some respect — not from astronomers, but from wordsmiths. "Plutoed" was chosen 2006's Word of the Year by the American Dialect Society at its annual meeting Friday.To "pluto" is "to demote or devalue someone or something," much like what happened to the former planet last year when the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union decided Pluto didn't meet its definition of a planet.
"May we all speak the truth in love with sensitivity and respect for the perspectives of each other, and may we all speak the truth in love with incredible strength and perseverance regardless of the perspectives of each other. Speaking the truth carelessly, spitefully, sarcastically or in "self-defense mode" violates the former, and withholding the truth to "keep the peace", protect the status quo, or avoid chaos violates the latter. And either one "plutos" another human being." -- Yours Truly
It was priceless timing. The kind of timing that guys who value "such things" live for.
You know the scene. I'm with a group of people in some sort of social setting. The conversation flows from idea to idea, concept to concept, person to person. I'm listening with a quite unconscious, non-malicious, but keen ear for "such things" and then the moment comes. Someone says just the right thing, and something with just the right ring of cleverness pops into my head, and then, WHAM! I interrupt the flow, regardless of the level of sincerity lingering over the group (and sometimes because of it), regardless of who has the floor at the time (and sometimes because of it), regardless of who's armor it might put a "chink" in (and sometimes because of it), regardless of pretty much anything...I lay out a brilliantly timed, masterfully phrased, "just-enough-truth" encompassing series of words that steals the show, if even for a moment, and wows the crowd with a mixture of roaring laughter, wide eyes accompanied by "oos" and "ohhhs", fingers pointing and backs slapping of the "prop" used for such things, which is usually a real live human being. Occasionally the prop isn't in the present crowd, but known my all of us, so it feels like a "harmless crime," if a crime at all.
I used to "pluto" people like this often. That is, speaking things without regard to other people's perspective. I excused it with phrases in my head (and out loud) like, "I'm just joking" (which I usually was), "I didn't mean it" (which I usually didn't), "you should have thicker skin" (which they usually should've), and "that's just my nature...the way I am" (which I later found to be true only in a superficial way). I still relapse occasionally, but for the most part I don't indulge in this for fear of the mindless and unintentional plutoing of people in my wake.
More often these days, I pluto people in much more invisible way.
Rather than doing it by "saying" things that reflect "some truth" without love, I pluto people by by "not saying" things that "are truth" and call it love.
I excuse it with phrases in my head (and out loud) like, "I'm not sure how they would react to that," or "I AM sure how they would react to that," or "I may not be right about that," or "that's none of my business," or "that's not my responsibility."
I couldn't be clearer on this for my life, but I could be more faithful. For me to do such a thing completely "demotes and devalues" that person in my life. I have ceased treating them with dignity in my heart. Especially when my thoughts start excusing my silence with phrases like "They can't handle it," "They don't want it," or "They just don't get it."
I really do believe that the truth sets you free. In every way that you can think of to take that statement, I believe it is true. I've experienced it hundreds of times in a dozens of ways.
And anything but God's honest truth flowing from within, to one another, pluto's one another.