A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were hard. 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 the daughter solved one problem, 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; she placed eggs in the second, and in the last, she put 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 put 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 rich 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 its inside became hardened after sitting through the boiling water.
The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
“Which are you?” the mother 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 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 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?