Left and Right Handed, Left and Right Turns, Left and Right Wings

by | Dec 4, 2023 | Faith, Writing and Reading | 6 comments |

The first time Keith and I met, some twenty years ago, I noted he is left handed while I am right. With our strong hands to the outside, we bookend one another. But when the world presents us with challenges, we face them with our strong hands together, as here.

Left and Right Handed

Did you know that right handedness has been the dominate trait since early man? Paleoanthropologists have found proof by measuring arm bones of ancient skeletons and noting wear patterns in prehistorical tools. Even today, left handed people like Keith make up only 10% of the population. Both favoring different hands for different tasks, like my older sister, and ambidexterity are uncommon. But because the world is designed for right handedness, Keith has developed an ability to use both hands, and I suspect he’s not alone.

There are empirical studies that suggest a correlation between left handedness and artistic ability. Of the two of us, Keith is certainly more visually talented. But research shows that folks who have a strong handedness preference are equally as creative.

Left and Right Turns

Left and right turns, however, are not created equal. In her later years, my former mother-in-law went out of her way to avoid making left turns while driving, because she said lefts were far more dangerous compared to rights. And she was correct. According to this study, “Left turns are especially dangerous at intersections, where there is a greater chance of collision. According to statistics, left turns account for about one-quarter of all car accidents.”

I think about this statistic when planning my driving route. For instance, the post office and trash station are both left hand turns on the way to church, but are right turns when we’re driving home. So, instead of dropping the trash and mailing letters on the way to church, we make the right turns on the way home. Note that our choice is also informed by usually running late in the morning and our more leisurely return in the afternoon.

Left and Right Wings

From where did we get the terms “left wing” liberals and “right wing” conservatives? In 1789 during the French Revolution, as reference to the politicians’ seating arrangements in the National Assembly. The members had met to draft a constitution, but the delegates were deeply divided over the issue of how much authority King Louis XVI should have. “…as the debate raged, the two main factions each staked out territory in the assembly hall. The anti-royalist revolutionaries seated themselves to the presiding officer’s left, while the more conservative, aristocratic supporters of the monarchy gathered to the right.” Citation.

I don’t feel called to write about politics, though I am an historian and comment about what I read, as here. My favorite history writer today is Tom Holland, the author nor the actor. About a year ago, I read Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World and this week completed his earlier work Persian Fire:The First World Empire and the Battle for the West. History is filled with controversy about authority. Power is fleeting, whether left or right, and freedom is fragile. 

Except for the power and freedom that we find with our right and left hands as we turn to Him.

Linkup with Five Minute Friday: https://fiveminutefriday.com/2023/11/30/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-left/


  1. seekingdivineperspective

    Love your closing statements, Carole. 😉 True, whether we turn to the left or to the right, He is there. <3

    • Carole Duff

      Amen. I wish you a blessed season of Advent! -C.D.

  2. Lisa Brittain

    This is such a wonderful “left” expose! Thank you for bringing smiles to my face.

    • Carole Duff

      Glad you enjoyed my reflection, Lisa. I wish you a blessed season of Advent! -C.D.

  3. bigskybuckeye

    Carole, I enjoyed your narrative about the contrasts of left-handedness versus right-handedness. While I am right-handed, I did learn to use my left hand quite well years ago when I played basketball. Here’s a statistic that beats the odds on the frequency of left-handed people. My mother is left-handed, and she is the only one in our family who writes as a southpaw. My two oldest daughters each have a child who is left-handed. This certainly beats the odds.

    • Carole Duff

      How interesting, beating the odds, and how wonderful that we encourage children to discover their handedness!


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