“The Life, It is like a voyage to some known point.—I stand at the rudder, I have chosen my path—but God rules the storm and the sea. He may direct it otherwise; and then, happen what may, it will be the best for me … My life will be the best illustration of all my work.” Hans Christian Andersen, The True Story of My Life. 1847
I grew up listening to and reading Hans Christian Andersen’s stories, and watching Danny Kaye portray him in movies, so I have a special regard for him. And I am part Danish, after all.
His life wasn’t easy. His father and best support died while Hans was still young. His mother was an alcoholic. He grew up very poor, and he wasn’t handsome. He never married, and had no family.
Yet, though he had no born-in opportunities such as family wealth, he achieved a lot during his lifetime. A friend paid for his schooling, yet there he was abused by his schoolmaster. He was a poor student, and told by some of his teachers that he should never take up writing. Through all of his discouragements and setbacks, he took his measly talent that the Lord had given him and traded it in for ten through hard work and perseverance.
When I get discouraged, I have to remember that life isn’t easy for everyone except me. Life is meant to be challenging, full of trials, and other lovely experiences. Will we (meaning me) turn our Ugly Duckling into a beautiful swan? Will we multiply our talents? Doing this requires the purging and purifying fire of life. That’s why the above quote from Hans Christian Andersen hits a chord with me. I stand at the rudder, I know where I want to go and what I want to do with my life, but God rules the storm and the sea, and He might direct me otherwise.
|At the HCA museum, Odense Denmark|
They act out his stories here.
|Also on the grounds of the HCA museum|