A young woman went to her mother lamenting about her life and how things were so hard for her. She didn’t know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed that as one problem was solved, a new one sprang up.
Her mother grabbed her by the hand and took her into the kitchen. She proceeded to fill three pots with water and placed each one upon the stove on high heat. Soon the pots began to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second eggs, and in the third ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.
After about twenty minutes had passed, she reached up and turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and put them into a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and poured it into a bowl. She put the three bowls in front of her daughter and said to her, “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 all of this mean, mother?”
Her mother explained that each of the 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 piping hot water, it softened and became weak.
The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting in the boiling water, its inside became hardened.
The ground coffee beans were unique, however. While the water had changed the ground beans, the beans had also managed to change the water.
“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean? You should think to yourself, am I a carrot? Do I seem 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 lovely 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 mean spirit and a hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The coffee bean actually changes the water, the very circumstance that brings pain. When the water gets hot it releases its fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you’ll get better and change the situation around you.”
Monday Morning Perspective
“One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity.” –Albert Schweitzer
“Every adversity, every failure, and every heartache, carries with it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.” –Napoleon Hill
How do you handle adversity? When the hour is the darkest and the trials are at their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level or get dragged into the mush?
The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes their way. I wouldn’t want to eat ground coffee beans, but I sure can enjoy a hot cup of coffee.
We all face trials and we all work to overcome our own challenges. Perhaps the next time you find yourself facing your flavor of adversity, you can take a coffee break and consider whether you’re on track to be a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean.
Have a wonderful week!
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