I will redeem you with an outstretched arm
i grew up being left-handed.
the left-handed make up approximately 10 percent of the population. we are an oddity with no orthodoxy. left-handed people can write left-handed in the mirror opposite of the right-handed. left-handed people can also write left-handed by writing right-handed. this is done by turning the left wrist in extreme fashion to literally point back at one’s body as opposed to pointing forward. i was one of those left-handers.
the left-hander/right-hander writing technique was treacherous; the hand often dragged over freshly written ink or pencil marking up one’s hand. writing essays in school would be accompanied after with a restroom wash handing. the bizarre writing style, however, worked on the “right handed” desks found in classroom and lecture halls. the often gratuitous “left-handed” in a classroom served me as a mere oddity. my style made them impossible to use.
left-handedness also plagued me athletically. my left hand was weak and in sports’ terms was a “dead arm.” i could barely throw a ball.
this weak left arm carried over into religious life. the strong arm redeeming the hebrew slaves was not quite what an exceedingly weak armed person wanted to hear about. strong arms were revered. they were cool.
as a child, i idolized the powerful arm. baseball pitchers bob gibson and goose gossage threw the real hard. it was canned heat and it was thrown at great speeds such as the high 90s. baseball, however, was not very very good to me. a single pee-wee softball season marked my career end. my cup of coffee big league’s dream was reduced to a hot chocolate at la cienega park. sadly, the little leagues were beyond my diminutive reach an my woeful arm. i made no effort to beg or cajole my parents to try out.
years later, an individual, after the sad tale of my noodle of an arm, gave me life changing advice. “if you’re left hand is so weak, why don’t you try using your right?”
with nothing to lose, i embarked to see if my right hand had any skills. to my surprise, the results were positive. the right hand’s strength was far better. throwing baseballs and footballs came with ease. after, i took up playing tennis right-handed and became proficient enough to strongly consider trying out for the high school tennis team.
as bob dylan said that “when you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose.” this successful experiment changed my life in multiple ways. while the use of the right hand was great, the concept of chance taking was an awakening. success could arise from the possible. the fact that i was ambidextrous would never had been discovered without a crazy idea that worked.
in the end, my switch from left to right allowed me to return to my “field of dreams.” i had the honor to serve as an assistant youth baseball coach for my son and his teammates. in doing so, i was blessed to work and spend time with a player who has made it to the major leagues. his big arm and 97 mph fastball appear at stadiums across america and canada. my son and i, once in awhile, share the dream together admiring this player’s ongoing success.
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