Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Diana’s mom sent her an email with this story a very LONG time ago, but it has stuck with me.  As drama swirls around me and people make accusations…  I feel as though I have to defend myself.  I want to scream YOU DON’T KNOW ME!

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She wanted to give up. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen and filled three pots with water.

In the first, she placed carrots; in the second, she placed an egg; in the last, she placed ground coffee beans.

She let them sit and boil without saying a word. In about 20 minutes, she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. Same with the egg and coffee.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what you see.”

“Carrots and egg and coffee,” the daughter replied.

The mother brought her daughter closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take the egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, the daughter observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked her daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she smelled its rich aroma and tasted its delicious flavor.

The daughter then asked, “What’s the point, Mother?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity — boiling water — but each reacted differently. The carrot went into the water strong, hard, and unrelenting, but it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile, but, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were 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, an egg or a coffee bean?”

We would do well to ask ourselves the same questions at this time of the year.

Am I like the carrot? Am I strong when things go well but wilt when faced with pain or adversity?

Am I like the egg? Was my heart once open to life and love? Do I look the same on the outside but have I become hard and unyielding on the inside?

Or am I like the coffee bean? Can I respond to challenges and change? Can I use the heat of life — with its worries, sorrows, regrets, the hard-won knowledge that comes from experience — and transform that understanding into something fragrant, meaningful, life-enhancing?




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