I read this story today, and I thought that it had a wonderful message contained in it, and I wanted to share it with you. This story is for anyone who has ever felt like giving up or giving in when life has been tough and felt like a struggle. The story is simply called carrots, eggs and coffee beans.
A young woman went to her mother and explained that life was very hard for her. She didn’t know how she was going to survive and just wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling all of the time, and it seemed that every time one problem was solved, a new one arose.
Her mother took her to the kitchen, filled three pots with water and placed each pot on the stove. Very soon the pots came to a boil. In the first pot she placed some carrots, in the second she placed a few eggs, and in the last she placed some ground coffee beans.
After about 20 minutes, the mother turned off the stove. She took out the carrots and the eggs and placed them in separate bowls. She then ladled out the coffee, which had resulted from the coffee beans in the third pot, and poured it into another bowl. Turning to her daughter, she instructed, “Tell me what you see.”
“I see carrots, eggs and coffee,” the young woman replied.
Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. Upon feeling the carrots, the young woman noted that they were soft. Her mother then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed a hard-boiled egg.
Finally, her mother asked her to sip the coffee. The young woman smiled as she inhaled the coffee’s inviting aroma and savored the wonderful taste of its rich flavor.
Then she asked, “But, what does it mean, Mom?”
Her mother explained to her that each of the objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. However, each reacted very differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting but, 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, on the other hand were unique. After being subjected to the boiling water, they had actually changed the water.
“So,” the Mother asked her daughter, “which one are you? When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?”
Do you seem strong but then become soft and lose your strength when faced with pain and adversity, like the carrot?
Are you more like the egg? Did you start out start out with a soft heart and a fluid spirit that becomes hardened or stiff after the death of someone close to you, a breakup, some financial hardship or some other trial? Does your shell look the same, even though you have become cold and tough on the inside?
Or, are you closer in character to the coffee bean, which releases its fragrance and flavor when faced with hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain? In other words, when things are at their worst, do you make things better by changing the situation around you?
When the hour is at its darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? Do you change the situation around you? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?
We all face many trials, struggles and adversity from time to time. I hope that in the future when you are faced with adversity, instead of becoming week like the carrot, or becoming hardened like the egg, you see it as an opportunity to turn it around, make a positive difference, and leave the situation better than you found it!