Well, to many of you, that may sound like something that doesn’t exist – or at least, a day of celebration that you haven’t heard of by that name. But you may have heard of it by another name – Left-Handed Day! And this year, it happens tomorrow, Monday, August 13th. Yep, it’s the day that those of us who are left-handed have a day of celebration that helps educate a right handed world on the benefits and problems associated with being left-handed.
By the way, “antipodal” means to be opposite or diametrically opposed and with 90% of the population right-handed, it makes sense that those of us who are not right hand dominant would be considered in the minority. I guess I don’t think of it too much anymore. I have grown up in a world that favors right-handed people and I am used to it.
Some of the things I have learned to adjust to – for example, I really do well cutting with regular scissors. Way back when I was a boy, Mom got me a pair of left-handed scissors and I couldn’t get used to them. Into the trash they went. Can openers and butter knives are other items that are difficult for us to use. You know that little offset in butter knives – it means that we have to use them backwards and I would rather not do that. The same goes for letter openers. I am very fussy that my letter openers are straight – without any offsets.
Probably the biggest issues I have had throughout the years have to do with writing. Three ring binders are almost impossible to write in as the big rings get in the way. To a large extent, it is the same with spiral notebooks. And when I write in pencil, the edge of my hand is covered in graphite within several minutes as my hand drags over what I have just written. Fountain pens? Forget it… they were designed to be pulled across the page, the way a right hander writes – not pushed across the page the way the rest of us do it.
Yes, it truly is a right handed world and most of us have learned to adjust. I was not one of those who was trained to write right handed. I missed that period of time in our country. But it has not been without having to get used to some things taking longer. For example, when I use a tape measure, the numbers are upside down. Did you ever think of that? It’s not a big deal – it just takes longer to get used to reading upside down.
In the old days, being left handed was considered negative. In some cultures, being different wasn’t even tolerated. It is true, however, that left handers do some things better than their counterparts. They tend to be more artistic and creative. For some reason that hasn’t ever been figured out, they are less likely to suffer from ulcers and arthritis. But we do scare more easily and on balance, scholars seem to have determined that lefties earn about 10% less than than their co-workers who are right handed. However, an unusually high number of our Presidents have been left handed – at least eight of the 45 Presidents in our country’s history. That’s almost double the rate in the general population.
In biblical times, being left handed was considered a gift. As warriors, they tended to have an advantage against their adversaries. After all, it was unlikely that most encounters would be against a left handed person and that created an advantage in battle. I found the same thing out on the tennis court. People weren’t used to my “unconventional” shots and I am sure that it, throughout the years, accounted for victories that I may not have otherwise had.
Tonight’s verse references one of the Bible verses that tells us about the skill of left-handed troops. We are told in the book of Judges, in Judge’s 20:16, “Among Benjamin’s elite troops, 700 were left-handed, and each of them could sling a rock and hit a target within a hairsbreadth without missing.”
Yes, God blessed some of us with left hand dominance and though this is rather unusual, God has proven that He can accomplish His will through anyone. My encouragement this evening is that God uses all of us to achieve His goals. My prayer is that tomorrow you will bless a left handed person by praying for them and maybe even dedicating a portion of your day to walking in their shoes and trying to accomplish something using your antipodal hand. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…