I’ve been thinking about purpose...

ugly duckling
[after the story of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen]:
something that appears very unpromising but often has great potential

“That is a monstrous big duckling,” a puzzled mother duck says when the last of her chicks hatches out of his odd-shaped egg. “Can he be a turkey chick? Well, we shall soon find out.”

From that day on, everyone knows that this duckling is different. Teased for his awkward appearance by even his own brothers and sisters, he steals away, friendless, marching on bravely through obstacles at every turn. The seasons change, and so does the duckling – but not until an exhilarating moment one spring does he realize the glorious truth about himself.

Reflected in the still pool he saw many graceful shapes, with long necks and golden bills. Without thinking, he looked for his dull feathers and awkward, skinny neck. But no such thing was there. Instead, he beheld beneath him a beautiful swan!

“The Ugly Duckling” tale is a wise and timeless fable based on Andersen’s life. His own childhood appeared particularly unpromising. He was born in Odense, Denmark, on April 2, 1805, the son of a poor shoemaker who died when Hans was 11 years old. After attending the city school for poor children, Andersen left Odense at the age of 14 to seek a career in Copenhagen. He nearly starved while trying to earn a living as an actor, singer, and dancer.

In Copenhagen, he met Jonas Collin, who became his lifelong friend. Colin saw incredible potential in Andersen and helped him get a royal scholarship, which opened the door to continue his education.

Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark’s most famous author, published the first of his 168 fairy talesin 1835, and continued writing them until he died in 1875. He wrote with wisdom, deliberate simplicity, and often with sly humor. His fairy tales are considered both children’s and adult literature because many of them contain serious moral meanings intended for adult readers.

He rustled his feathers and raised his slender neck aloft, saying with pure joy in his heart, “I never dreamed of such peace.”

Are you still dreaming of this kind of peace?