Photo courtesy disabilityisbeautiful.com
Many are familiar with the 1843 Danish fairy tale “The Ugly Duckling” by Hans Christian Anderson. If you are not familiar with the story here is a synopsis.
“When the story begins, a mother duck’s eggs hatch. One of the little birds is perceived by the other birds and animals on the farm as an ugly little creature and suffers much verbal and physical abuse from them. He wanders sadly from the barnyard and lives with wild ducks and geese until hunters slaughter the flocks. He finds a home with an old woman, but her cat and hen tease and taunt him mercilessly, and once again he sets off alone.
The duckling sees a flock of migrating wild swans. He is delighted and excited, but he cannot join them, for he is too young, too ugly, and he cannot fly. Winter arrives. A farmer finds and carries the freezing little duckling home, but the foundling is frightened by the farmer’s noisy children and flees the house. He spends a miserable winter alone in the outdoors, mostly hiding in a cave on the lake that partly freezes over. When spring arrives, a flock of swans descends on the lake.
The ugly duckling, now having fully grown and matured, is unable to endure a life of solitude and hardship anymore and decides to throw himself at the flock of swans deciding that it is better to be killed by such beautiful birds than to live a life of ugliness and misery. He is shocked when the swans welcome and accept him, only to realize by looking at his reflection in the water that he had been not a duckling, but a cygnet all this time. The flock takes to the air, and the now beautiful swan spreads his gorgeous large wings and takes flight with the rest of his new family.”[i]
Was the “ugly duckling” really “ugly” or even a “duckling”?
No! Of course not. This story is one of misplaced and mistaken identity. The story has a happy ending as the swan is embraced by his own kind.
What if I told you that this story of misplaced and mistaken identity is not too far off from a current reality with a people group? Would you believe me?
This is no fairy tale. There is a people group that has been branded by society as ugly and as one that does not fit in. Who am I talking about? People with disabilities.
Society would want you to believe that people with disabilities are somehow lesser than, ugly, and out of place. Where did this belief come from? I believe it is one of the many lies of the devil. The evil one wants to discourage and destroy all people. This just happens to be his plan against people with disabilities. Get the world to believe the lie and people affected by disability will never find a place of belonging. They will live a life ridiculed by others just like the ugly duckling.
It is our job to call a lie a lie! It is our job to bring the truth to the table and to expose the devil for the liar he is.
People affected by disability are not lesser than, ugly, or out of place. They are beautiful, equal to, and worthy of belonging! These are truths that God declares throughout the pages of scripture (Psalm 139, Luke 14, John 9, Exodus 4, Genesis 1, 1 Corinthians 12, etc.)
We along with God want to celebrate the beauty that belongs to everyone. That is why we have created a FREE stock photography website called Disability Is Beautiful.
Check out our website of high-quality photos. Celebrate with us by creating a FREE account and uploading your favorite pictures of a loved one or friend with disabilities. Declare truth in the face of the lies of the enemy! Together we can overcome the negative narrative that has been used by the devil to discourage and destroy people with disabilities from the beginning of time.
There are NO ugly ducklings!
It is Ryan’s passion to equip and empower churches, organizations, and individuals to reach their disability communities for Jesus. Ryan comes to Ability Ministry with 15+ years of ministry experience. He previously worked at First Christian Church in Canton, Ohio as their full-time Disability Pastor. He also worked as a Church Consultant for Key Ministry. Micah 6:8 and Proverbs 31:8 best describe Ryan’s commitment to life and ministry.