I Can’t Tell My Right From My Left

I seem to get a lot of writing inspirations while doing laundry.  (I think this is God’s way of telling me that chores aren’t inherently evil.)  While hanging my husband’s dress shirts today, I went through my typical mental anguish:  In which direction do they go?  Does the hanger point to the left or the right?  Do the shirts face to the right or to the left? 

Okay, nobody else has this problem.  But it’s a big issue for me.  You see, my brain is backwards, or at least, that’s what a majority of the population seems to think. I’m a lefty, a southpaw, sinister (whoever made that up needs to be smacked).  Although we lefties are the only ones in our right minds, we have a difficult time telling our left from our right.  This makes seemingly mundane tasks, such as hanging laundry in the appropriate direction, dang near impossible. 

Maybe Jesus was just being sympathetic when he said, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” (Matthew 6:3), but somehow, I doubt it.  I think he was talking about charity and anonymity, or something like that.

After a few years of marriage, I thought I finally had the whole shirt direction thing down, and I asked my husband for confirmation.  He smiled bashfully and admitted that he often switches the shirts back around when I’m not looking.

Dang!  I’ll never get it right!

Just as my husband is patient with my poor, confused brain, God has mercy on poor me, who cannot tell my right from my left.

In the story of Jonah (you know, the guy who was vomited by a whale), God tells Jonah to preach to the Ninevites, a group of people who are senseless with wickedness.  The Ninevites repent of their evil ways, and God is merciful to them.  God says, “But Ninevah has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well.  Should I not be concerned about that great city?”  (Jonah 4:11).  Even though the Ninevites were as sinful and confused as I am, God was merciful and had infinite patience for them. 

We who can’t tell our right from our left, whether it is in the laundry or in our daily decisions, can be grateful that we’ve got a patient God who loves us, despite our confusion.


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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Just tell your husband that he is the one who is backwards LOL ! but, in all seriousness – this is a great point.
    I really appreciate how you see things in the day to day stuff that people hardly stop to notice.
    Thank you for the insight.
    What would the world be like if everyone stopped what they were doing and payed attention? hmmmm, how awesome would that be? Sometimes I just want to stop in the middle of the grocerystore and SCREAM, just to shock people out of themselves.

    I was really excited to see your email, I sent you a response.




  3. Don’t get me started on directions! My husband is the official navigator because we’d never get anywhere with me reading the map.

    I think God just made us lefties special, so we’d need to rely on his direction even more. We’re forced to trust him more than righties, just because we’re made that way.

  4. Hey, folks, I found this blog when looking for the name of this disorder where you can’t tell left from right, which has been a lifelong problem for me, and I wanted to share a tip that helps me most of the time when I am totally befuddled and will help you also if you are not dyslexic (I can write forward and mirror-image and read forward, mirror image, and upside-down equally well and don’t always realize if I am reading mirror image or upside-down).

    Take your thumbs and index fingers and make right angles with your palms facing away from you. The hand that makes the “L” is your left hand.

    This was SO liberating when someone taught it to me decades ago that I could not pass this blog entry and not share it.

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