A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things 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.
Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed them on a stove. In the first she put carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she poured ground coffee beans.
She let them sit and boil without saying a word. In about twenty minutes, she turned off the burners. She then fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She then removed the eggs and also placed them in a bowl. Finally, into a third, she poured the coffee.
Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?”
“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.
Taking her daughter a little closer, she asked her to feel the carrots. Her daughter noted that they were soft and mushy. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, her daughter described the hardened inside. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its deep flavour and inhaled its rich aroma.
The daughter then asked, “What’s the point, Mother?”
Her Mother explained, each of these objects had faced the same adversity – boiling water for 20 mins – but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it 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 hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique; after they were in the boiling water they 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 coffee bean?”
Think of this, which am I?
Am I the carrot that seems strong? But with pain and trouble, I wilt and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Do I have a fluid spirit but, after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, I become hard and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean changed the hot water – the very circumstances that brought adversity, pain and hardship – into something quite wonderful. When the water got hot, it released the beans fragrance and flavor.
If you are like the bean, you will get better when things are at their most difficult. You will change the situation around you. When times are at their darkest and trials are at their greatest, you will elevate to another level?
How do you handle adversity? ARE YOU A CARROT, EGG OR COFFEE BEAN?