I break things, spill stuff, and generally make messes every day. That has nothing to do with my habits of cleanliness, since I’m actually a neat-nik. It’s just I have to spend a portion of every day cleaning up after myself. Some days are worse than others, but that’s just random.
By definition, most clumsiness episodes are a miscalculation. It’s not ignorance, nor lack of concern; it’s being unable to properly calculate the placement of hands, feet, etc. with the proper timing. With one hand I hold a cannister of some dry, powdery stuff, and with the other I reach for some implement, but miscalculate and pull the can downward and sideways, spilling the contents. The path of my free hand failed to clear the edge of the cannister. See? I understand perfectly, but it’s an actual motor disability.
I don’t get too excited about the messes these days. I may utter something ugly under my breath, depending on how much I valued what I just destroyed, and I may still weep over the loss at times. I’ll get over it. Still, it’s a feature of my life which has not changed since childhood. Having taken all the advice I’ve gotten over the years, and it making zero difference, I no longer get angry with myself or with God, or anybody else. I just clean it up.
If you observe someone in such a fix, the most hateful thing you can do is castigate, and the second most hateful thing is to give advice after the fact. The clumsy person is as much a victim as anyone else. Frankly, if the victim reacts violently, you deserve some of it. You are being socially clumsy, and you do have the means to fix it. Hold your tongue. Unless it’s an emergency, the right thing to do is watch and see if the clumsy person can digest and handle it. If not, stay out of the way. They are hurting bad, and you have to acknowledge that, or you sin. Obviously, shame and embarrassment is the number one issue here. If they act any other way, simply help. You can even ask what they would like you to do, in the “what do we do now” tone of voice. Even if it is an emergency, recriminations of any sort are simply wrong. By the way, laugh if the victim laughs.
Yes, these things do inconvenience you, or may even ruin your day (or week, month, etc.). Yes, their involvement is what made it costly for you. Unless you watched them gleefully destroy, don’t assume it has anything to do with moral failure. If you do, that is a moral failure. What you see as an external observer has little bearing on what the clumsy person experiences internally. Your ability to measure the miscalculation cannot be translated into an instructive guidance. If the thing is a routine which must be repeated, then your observations might be useful, because even a clumsy oaf can learn a physical routine. However, most spills and thrills take place outside routine and repetitive tasks.
For someone who is typically clumsy, keep in mind it is something built into the eye-hand-awareness matrix, and nothing you say or do can fix it. Treat it like a disability and you’ll be a lot closer to God.
I moderate comments. Take a moment to scan the "Readers Note" tab on the menu bar at the top of the page.
As a minister of God, I do accept donations. Please click the "Donate" tab above.