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. It
seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.
Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and
placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she
placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last 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 pulled the eggs out and placed them in
a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning
to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what you see.”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.

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

The daughter then asked, “What does it mean, mother?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had 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 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?”

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with
pain and adversity do I wilt and 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 stiff
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
bean, when things are at their worst, you get even 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? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot,
an egg or a coffee bean?

 

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