Opinion by Jim Denney
I have terrible handwriting. And I have no excuse. When I was ten years old, my teacher tried to teach me good penmanship, but I didn’t care and I didn’t make the effort. To this day, I can’t write anything in cursive. My “handwriting” is a second-grade-level block-letter printing so illegible I often can’t read it myself.
Last week, I heard about ten-year-old Sara Hinesley, a student at St. John’s Regional Catholic School in Frederick, Maryland. She entered the 2019 Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest and won the Nicholas Maxim Award.
Now here’s the important part of the story: Sara has no hands.
Her arms end at the wrists, She holds the pencil between the ends of her arms. She writes beautifully.
I have to ask myself: Why can a ten-year-old girl without hands do something I can’t do with two perfectly functional hands? The answer is: I can’t because I never made the effort.
If a girl without hands can win a handwriting contest, what is my excuse for not achieving my goals in life? Obviously, I have no excuse. Little Sara Hinesley took all my excuses away.
ABC News story about Sara Hinesley
These days, I do all my writing with a laptop computer, so learning to write with beautiful cursive pen strokes is not a top priority for me. But I do have other goals I want to reach. And yes, sometimes I’ve had excuses for not achieving them yet.
But I’m done with excuses.
Legendary Alabama football coach Bear Bryant kept a plaque on his office wall that read, “What have you traded for what God has given you today?” Lately, I’ve been asking myself that question at the end of every day.
I remind myself that God has given me the gift of 86,400 seconds, each and every day. Once I’ve spent that allotment of time, it’s gone and I can never get it back.
What did I get in return for those 86,400 seconds? Did I invest them in the pursuits that matter? Am I doing the work God gave me to do? Am I fulfilling the purpose God has for my life?
Or am I just making excuses because I didn’t make the effort?
Note: Don’t miss my interviews with Christian romance writer Robin Lee Hatcher (author of Who I Am With You and An Idaho Christmas: Past and Present), and Christian science fiction writer Kerry Nietz (author of Amish Vampires in Space and Fraught). Visit my website at Writing in Overdrive. See you there!
And if you’d like to learn more about how to write faster, more freely, and more brilliantly than you ever thought possible, read my book Writing In Overdrive, available in paperback and ebook editions at Amazon.com. —J.D.