Time to Use Our Left

When I was 15, elbow surgery shut down my right arm, so I started trying to do everything with my left – things I would never have done if my right were healthy. By the time I recovered, I was close to ambidextrous in a variety of things. I had grown into someone more balanced. Maybe I always had that opportunism, but it taught me a lesson about myself and crises. What seemed like a nightmare could actually be a blessing.

Later on in life, I worked as a research and development engineer. Among other things, that meant a lot of time each day on a computer using a mouse. After some years, I started to get pain in my right wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome started to sink in. After some treatment, I decided one day to start using my left hand instead. At first it was very awkward, but little by little I got used to it. Now, I use a computer less than before, but I use mainly my left. If it ever gets too tired or sore, I switch back to my right for a while. It has saved my use of a computer. If I hadn’t learned the value of switching over to my weak hand, if I didn’t have the awareness or confidence I got from my surgery as a youth, I probably wouldn’t be using a computer anymore.

And if I wasn’t using a computer anymore, a lot of people would miss out. I write these reflections and three books from a computer. The fundraiser that helped to rebuild homes in Ecuador was done on a computer. The $20K in other fundraisers, from earthquake relief to medical help to rebuilding school facilities, all that happened through my computer use. I could keep going on.

My point is this: that crisis when I was 15 wasn’t all bad. It made me more balanced, it made me wiser, and it gave me the seeds to understand how to make decisions later on in life that would keep me doing things I love and affect a lot of people.

What seemed like a nightmare all those years ago, was actually a blessing. When my right was shut down, all I needed to do was use my left.

During the shutdown in this pandemic wave, I see opportunities all around us. Opportunities to do things in our own lives in a new, uncomfortable way. To focus on the people who are more vulnerable medically, financially, socially. There’s an opportunity to come out of this situation more balanced, as individuals and a society. There’s an opportunity to learn and grow and set us up for future challenges that will come our way, so that we can overcome obstacles and do what we’re made to do, and lift other people up.

What seems like a nightmare isn’t all bad. It can actually be a blessing.

If we use our left.

At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it. So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees. Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed. (Heb 12:11-13)

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