It doesn’t matter if you’re born in a duck yard, so long as you are hatched from a swan’s egg!
~Hans Christian Anderson, The Ugly Duckling.
Took another new route the other day on my mid-day walk. This time I ended up by a park lake and smack into a brood of Canadian geese.
When looking for a quote to go with this shot, naturally I thought of the Hans Christian Anderson classic, The Ugly Duckling. But, since I’m fresh out of ducklings and swans, geese will have to do to illustrate my point.
I read through this children’s classic story again and was struck by how sad it really is. I found my heart breaking for the “ugly duckling” as he was mistreated and ridiculed when younger. It’s a sober reminder that life is, many times, not ideal. And there are obstacles, struggles….and yes….very nasty people around every corner whose primary goal in life is to beat us down and break our spirit.
It felt quite glad at all the need and misfortune it had suffered, now it realized its happiness in all the splendor that surrounded it.
In the end, the ugly duckling’s miserable life was rewarded. How much different would he have been if he’d hatched in a swan’s nest with a silver spoon it his mouth, and had never known hardship? Would he be better or worse? More importantly, how would the assessment of his life have been different?
Then he felt quite ashamed, and hid his head under his wings, for he did not know what to do; he was so happy, and yet not at all proud…Then he rustled his feathers, curved his slender neck, and cried joyfully, from the depths of his heart, “I never dreamed of such happiness as this, while I was an ugly duckling.”
Humility, grace and appreciation. Virtues that can only be achieved by going through, and surviving trials and tribulations. The opposite of these virtues? Pride, self-admiration and conceit. Because it’s only through raging storms that we can fully appreciate sunshine and not take it for granted.
We’re all hatched from swan’s eggs. We all have the potential to be beautiful creatures, full of joy, happiness and appreciation for the life we’ve been given.
The difference is the “yard” in which we’re raised.