I’ve never given much thought about carrots or eggs, but I do think a lot about coffee. I drink a lot of it. However, once you read this story sent to me by a young lady in Iowa, I think you will agree that you will never think about a cup of coffee in the same way again; or for that matter, carrots or eggs. Read it carefully:
A young woman went to her mother and told her how her life and events around her were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.
Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled tree pots with water and placed each on high heat. Soon the water came to a boil. In the first one, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the third she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She took the eggs out and placed them in another bowl. Then she ladled out the coffee into a third bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “What do you see?”
“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied. Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots . She did and noted they were soft. The mother then asked her to take an egg and break it. After removing the hard shell, she observed the hardboiled egg. The daughter then asked, “What does it mean, mother?”
Her mother explained that each of those objects faced the same adversity – boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they had been in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, egg, or a coffee bean?”
Now think for a moment, perhaps look in the mirror, and ask yourself, which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt, become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a spirit and hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the coffee bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?
After reading this story several times, I look at myself and wonder where I stand. There are times when I feel like I go through all three, but don’t know where I end up. So far I don’t feel bitter and tough.
Having gone through the loss of a spouse I experienced, at times, all three. I generally feel I have little influence on my surroundings, and perhaps that is as it should be; the people around you are in a better position to assess how much you influence your surroundings .
When we are at a dark hour, I believe we do move to a different level. Notice I said move – not elevate, because we all don’t react in exactly the same manner. Some will elevate and take charge of their situation and some will lower themselves to the nearest bar and hide from adversity in a bottle. The decision is ours to make.
So I ask, how do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?