Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Ugly Duckling

I was thinking about the Ugly Duckling story today. The ugly duckling was ugly because it was being compared to ducks and not to swans. By swan standards, the ugly duckling was developing beautifully. By duck standards, the duckling was a freak. This led me to the thought of what I might compare myself to that is not using the right set of characteristics. How many times have I wanted to compare myself to ducks when I am really a swan? Say that one has a world-class runner as a brother. Might he be tempted to compare himself to that set of characteristics? Even though I was developing beautifully in so many other areas, why did I choose those characteristics?

Then, this brought me to another thought, and it came out quite eloquently: We always develop into who we are. The problem is we often refuse to celebrate our development because it is not as “good” as someone else’s development. So, if we are trying to develop into someone else or someone else’s expectation of us, we will never be happy. We will keep focusing on our reflection in the water as something ugly, incomplete, and undeveloped. Sometimes ugly ducklings turn into swans and still think they’re ugly ducklings. Sometimes beautiful ducks want to be beautiful swans and can’t handle being ducks, but someone has to keep the cosmetic and reconstructive surgery industries going (and populate TX and CA). The irony is swans are not any more beautiful than ducks.

Finally, I stumbled upon one last level. The ultimate problem is when we have to cope with being called children of God. That’s like being seen as a beautiful swan, but seeing the reflection of an ugly duckling. We are doomed to be wonderful, beautiful, and complete. Wherever we are in our development, we are children of God. So, the ugly duckling is always beautiful. In a sense, seeing ourselves as ugly is not giving God any credit and limiting him. Just one more thing to feel ugly about . . . or it can give me hope that I am developing into what I am.

At this point, I got out of the shower, shaved, brushed my teeth, and tried not to look in the mirror.

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