Many of you are familiar with the story of the ugly duckling who looked nothing like his brothers and sisters. He didn’t act exactly like them. He didn’t fit in but was trying with all his might to act like a duck. Mother duck took care of him just like the other ducks but all the ducks thought he was so ugly and didn’t fit in. They made fun of him. After a while the ducklings grew into young adults. Out on the pond was all these beautiful ducks being ducks and they were amazed because in their midst was a beautiful, dazzling, graceful, pure white swan. The swan could stop being what he was not. He was not a duck. There is nothing wrong with a duck. They have their own beauty, abilities, and purpose but the swan also has his/her own beauty, ability and purpose. Nothing is ugly. Everything and everyone is just being what they were born to be.
That was just an illustrative story but in real life as we know it as humans, we all know that when someone doesn’t look like you or act like you or believe as you do, you think they are odd. You think they are ugly. You call them misfits. You don’t give them credit for being different. If the difference you experience is unbearable it is your choice to not hang out with them. It is also you choice to love them or not anyway. You can love people you don’t fit in with or who don’t fit in with you. It is possible. You have the power to decide to accept or not accept them for who they are. In the story, once the ducks saw the beauty in the swan they stopped rejecting him and ridiculing him. They accepted him for who and what he was in his own way.
It is not your job to change someone into you. It is not their job to change you into them. It is your honor and privilege as well as theirs to each respect the other person’s gifts, talents, and quirks. Does this mean that you allow someone to disrespect you, trample upon you? No. Just try to remove yourself from them because they are not yet grown enough to be able to give love, respect, and honor. You can still send them love and a desire for them to find their own beauty so that they can see it in others.
Love should not hurt if it is absolute and pure. Love understands. Love spreads its wings over the wounded, clasps the wounded to its breast and tenderly heals. It brings out the “swan” in all creation.