About the time A pastor stopped me from using my left hand at church

EUCHARIST SUSTAINS BELIEVERS, SAYS POPE JOHN PAUL II

The first time I said “sorry for left” I stood still for a minute because I didn’t know whether to slap myself or laugh. I was paying for something at a supermarket and I handed the salesgirl the money with my left hand. I said it because I had heard someone say it as a way of apologizing for handing over money or anything for that matter, with the left hand. I will completely ignore its grammatical shortcomings too.

  “Sorry for left… wai”

Now if you are Ghanaian, you probably know it is frowned upon to gesture, give or receive anything with the left hand. (My ga teacher in primary school used to say that a lot.)Yes, you’re disrespectful if you do that. Like most Ghanaian children, I was taught at school to use my right hand because it was the right  thing to do.
See, now here is the thing. I am left-handed so I  suffered a bit for it growing up. Yes, I’d get lashed as an iddy-biddy toddler in KINDERGARTEN, for writing with my left-hand. It started to affect my learning processes a bit.  I’d mirror my letters; ‘3’ as ‘E’, ‘b’ as ‘d’ and then I’d get in trouble for that too. Ghana schooling hard oo. Until my mum came to the school to check those teachers; who also happened to be stealing my hair ribbons too.
Anyways, I am usually passive about little things like culture codes like shaking with the left head, wearing at hat out after 6 pm( oh yes it exists too) wearing anklets and other ridiculous things.
The essence of many Ghanaian cultural connotations are to promote respect, young vrs. old, order as well, but mostly, respect. There are trends that I understand  and respect. Some, however, i strongly believe,  need to go to Bin.
Like not using the left hand!
I’ve got baleful stares a few times in cars or shopping when i have paid with my left hand. Normally i shrug and keep it moving.
But what really pissed me off this one time, actually  happened at church. Yep. Wouldn’t you believe it?
 Now normally, and really, on reflex, I pick up the cup, with my left hand to keep the wine cup steady. It is such a solemn moment that I am always VERY careful about not spilling wine from the Lord’s cup.
 While I am battling this agitation, an intern Methodist priest who has come to worship with us for a time at my church decides to take it upon himself to correct whatever is CLEARLY, genetically wrong with me. During one communion service, this man leans in and hisses at me to use my right hand to pick the cup when he sees me reaching with my left hand. Damnation! May i be damned to hell!. I am so confused and with a shaken hand, Ipick up the cup, drink and walk away to my seat, as fast as I can. I can not even pray and think after my communion because I feel invaded and violated at such a solemn time. I mean what did I ever to do to him? I didnt hear the Lord complaining.
But no. This man is not done yet.
A second time, this priest sees me in line, walks straight towards me and hisses again that when I get to the stand, I should not use my left hand to pick my communion cup! I was rebelling and seething inside, for the intrusion. The question now was either to be disrespectful or to conform.
 I conformed. Don’t worry I did myself the honors and kicked myself. It won’t happen again.
Of course, after church he had to come talk to me. Just to make sure his hissing hit home.
“Excuse me, I hope I didn’t offend you. But you see, in our Ghanaian culture, it is not right to use your left hand”.
And I said, “Yes, you did offend me. You not only intruded on my quiet time at communion, you picked a wrong time to do it. I am left-handed, I am sorry that is a problem for you. It is my steady hand and I don’t think you’d appreciate it if I spilled my cup in front everyone  would you? And please with all respect don’t pick on culture when it suits religion and drop it when it doesn’t.  And please tell me where in the Bible God condemns using the left-hand for anything? Then you’re telling me He certainly didn’t know what He was doing when he created both hands, am I right ?
After a feeble apology from him, I walked away. Let’s just say my whole argument is in my reply. I really cannot blame him because after all we are products of our belief system. That’s fine. But we can’t all be in the same boat all the time. Not this time.
Was I wrong?
Nah.. I do not think so.

12 Comments Add yours

  1. J.Phoenix says:

    This happened to me too! Lol. Left handed people for the win!

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    1. Ridiculous isn’t it?!! lol

      Like

  2. Jamie Carter says:

    I’m left-handed as well. I know that there was a time where left-handed students were forced to switch, studies indicated that the change caused some of them to have speech impairments and decreased self-confidence. Since we saw that the old attitudes were doing more harm than good, people began to change their views and accept left-handedness. Since being left-handed runs in both sides of my family, half of the fun is wondering which children, nieces, nephews will be lefties and which ones will be righties. Roughly 10-15% of the world is left-handed. I don’t think that God made any mistakes when he made us. Being left-handed means that the right-side of our brains is more dominant, we tend to be more creative, imaginative, musical and emotionally aware. To me, it doesn’t sound like God made a mistake making left-handed people, he loves to use the things that are not to nullify the things that are, the weak to shame the strong, the poor to shame the rich – 1 Corinthians 1:26-31; so maybe that’s why he made us left-handed, to show the right-handed people that they’re not all that and they shouldn’t boast or see themselves as superiors or treat us as inferiors.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s certainly something that needs to stop. As far as I am concerned the whole of my being was created in His image and that includes my left hand. It’s petty things like these that just deters people from worshiping. If I can’t feel comfortable in my church where else am I supposed to feel that way?

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      1. Jamie Carter says:

        For us, the bad association with being left-handed was different. The belief was that Jesus was right-handed (as were his true servants) and that the Devil was left-handed (as were his true servants). Just about a year ago, a teacher tried to force a left-handed student to switch to writing right-handed and she cited that belief as the reason why they had to switch. That teacher eventually resigned from teaching after it was revealed that kid wasn’t the only left-handed student she tried to force to switch. For decades, Catholic schools were the most notorious about forcing students to switch, but even now they’ve changed. If we can overcome our old belief with a new one, your society can do the same. But you’ll have to challenge it by proudly being left-handed, buying and using left-handed scissors and other items, and pass around a few left-handed books. The thing is that the more you go against the ‘norms’, the more that others might push back trying to keep things the way they are. The status quo really benefits right-handed people, and they probably won’t see any reason why they ought to change a thing.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. LOL! “If thine left hand offend thee…”

    You’re fortunate you’re still left handed… Some of us weren’t so lucky!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gabriel says:

    Apparently the reason the left hand is offensive is because it’s the hand you wipe your butt with after a number two. So I said well, actually, I wipe mine with my right hand. Which one would you prefer I use now? Also, I’m right handed.

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    1. Hahaha! Love it! I mean it’s such a ridiculous thing. I know a French man who uses his left hand for soupy foods.. Is he any crazier? we need to let some things go.

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    2. Awesomerichy says:

      Yeah. That is the flimsy reason for this whole left-right thing. But we wash our hand after taking a dump, don’t we? Besides, its not everybody that uses the left hand to wipe his butt. Despite, the ‘left hand wiping butt’ thing also being an unnecessary arrangement of culture. Because not everybody eats with the right so the hygienic reasons are also rendered futile in this argument

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Awesomerichy says:

    Wow. This sounds like me blogging. I have been wanting to talk about this for awhile now. I think the whole issue with left hand being wrong is completely bull. I am not left-handed but I find it utterly useless a burden to force myself to give or receive something with my right hand when my left hand could have easily done it. For instance, my right hand is full with bags of groceries and I still have to use that hand to give or receive something? Come on! After filling my car at the filling station, I have to give the money with my right hand which is rather further from the pump attendant than my left. What a torture! It is totally useless. This cultural thing needs to be scrapped.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. nybaah says:

    It’s tough eh? I am naturally left-handed. I always knew I was different. I had always known about how the left hand is forbidden in Ghanaian culture. It didn’t stop me from using my left hand. However, one day, when I was 7 years old, one of my aunties came over. She saw me writing with my left hand and asked my mom with disdain, “she’s left-handed?” From that moment on, I felt so bad about it and started using my right. I worked so hard to switch to my right hand. I’m almost 25 now. I’ve use my right hand for pretty much everything now, but there are times when I still use my left. You know why? That’s how God made me, it’s a natural instinct! God doesn’t make mistakes, so if He made me left-handed, why should culture frown upon it? This left-to-right issue has bothered me for most of my life. I always ask myself, “should I go back to being left hand dominant? Should I be ambidextrous? Should I continue with what I’m doing?” Any thoughts?

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    1. Exactly! That is how God made you. I think i got lucky because my mum came rushing through when she realised i was being whipped in the hand by teachers. It’s amazing how so many years later, using the left hand is still seen as disrespectful. I think if you are able to use both effectively now, then you are ambidextrous and you should be totally proud about that. Your experience has clearly made you super competent in both hands!!

      Liked by 1 person

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