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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Comedy of Errors (not about the play) (08/18/11)

TITLE: Ballerina Material, I’m Not
By Anita van der Elst
08/23/11


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Whenever I’ve come across the term “must be a multitasker,” I’m curious. What exactly is a multitasker? I can’t chew gum and walk at the same time but is there really such an animal? Does it have three pairs of hands, eyes in the back of its head and the ability to go forward and backward simultaneously? I’ve never seen one of those. Okay, maybe as the mother of four children aged five and under, that was once a fairly accurate description of me. But seriously—or hilariously if you like laughing at me—things don’t go smoothly when I attempt multitasking. Stupidly is the operative word here.

If someone were to hide a video camera in my kitchen, it’s possible I could be youtube’s star of stupid in no time. Chopping veggies for stew doesn’t mix well with dicing apples for fruit salad. A fruity stew might be a tasty variation but onions with raisins? Not such a hit. And no, setting the oven to clean cycle while a casserole bakes isn’t really multitasking. Unless rather than dinner, your intent was a burnt sacrifice.

In slapstick timing is everything. Yesterday I’m clowning around as Hubby teases me about adding his favorite creamer to my coffee cup in which I’ve already liberally poured Hazelnut. I grab the French Vanilla with a flourish and voila! Over goes my mug, spilling creamer across the counter, delivering a sweet dripping invitation between stove edge and cabinet wall to the army of ants whose hill we live upon. It was Hubby’s pleasure to move the stove. He has only my dexterity to thank.

You’d think I’d have learned from my own childhood history—as in an attempt to entertain a cousin recuperating from stitches for a gash on her arm, I jumped up and down on a bed. The globe ceiling light was not an icon for a good idea. But I used my head to open it and it responded by leaving a little bit of itself sticking into my scalp. Not deep enough for stitches but hey, it was a nice distraction for my cousin. I’m helpful that way.

Then there were the bicycle stunts that didn’t end well. Silly to think I could maneuver my bike like a trick rider, on a potholed gravel lane, no less. A roadmap of scars on my left knee proves how silly fifty years later. I felt even worse in a separate incident. When my friend asked which street we would be turning on, to be funny I said, “This one,” and turned my bike towards the ditch, not realizing she was coming up beside me on that side. We both went sprawling. I did not like the look of her right arm as we stood up. Somehow the second elbow that appeared between her real elbow and wrist seemed odd. I spent the rest of the summer fetching and carrying for her and not being funny at all.

Did I get this painful klutz gene from my parents? Mom, wisely, wouldn’t think of putting wheels on her feet but Dad’s roller skating talent included waltzing, spinning and going backward. What coordination! But, wait! I remember when Dad knocked himself out showing off to my kids his famous coordination while on the balance beam at the park. Suddenly he was on the ground, with eyes closed and tongue protruding, a lump ballooning on his head from connecting with the brick wall. Didn’t I say he knocked himself out? Concussions and ER bills aren’t all that amusing.

Apparently I do come by my gracelessness honestly—at least when it comes to physical coordination. I’m not likely to find a cure for it either. That will be me with the training wheels on my walker.

I was also born with a spiritual gracelessness—blind and gawky and on the verge of falling into the pit of death. How glad I am that this condition most definitely has a cure. When I stumble and trip on the rug because it’s there, or over your dog because it thinks my feet are play toys, I’ll cheer along with the apostle Paul. Whether or not you’re ballerina material, you’re welcome to join me.

“So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.”

(Psalm 30:3 NLT; 2 Corinthians 4:16 The Message)


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This article has been read 359 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sydney Avey08/25/11
This was a tough word challenge. Your perspective on how easily we screw up and the slapstick quality of our errors came close to capturing the theme. I'm a huge Shakespeare fan so I appreciate how you expressed Will's "Too err is human" spirit. Nice spiritual application. What don't I like? The title. Given the title, I'd like to see the quality of grace expressed more clearly.
Robyn Burke08/25/11
You have done well in showing the reader your clumsiness in a very NON clumsy way. (you told it well!) Very humorous reading, even as I was saying owie more than a few times. Especially pleased with how you brought it around to a devotional at the end.
Colin Swann08/27/11
Very creative it could rename the topic 'a comedy of errors and accidents' - interesting and substantial in content. Thanks!
Sarah Elisabeth 08/28/11
Loved, loved, loved! No, I don't feel sorry for you; your family, maybe :-D

This all tied together so well, from present, to childhood, to your dad, to the future in eternity. Wow. Hope this does well!
Camille (C D) Swanson 08/30/11
I can indentify with "clumsy" growing up I was always the klutz in my house! I really loved this story, and especially how it wrapped up with the word of God...Wonderful and clever. God Bless~
Noel Mitaxa 08/30/11
Great pictures and a great comedic touch. I thoroughly enjoyed this. I also hope it rates well.
Linda Goergen08/31/11
I like how you took some of life’s “clumsy” episodes and threaded them into a spiritual lesson at the end. Well done!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/07/11
Congratulations for ranking 9th in level 4 and 15th overall!