I have grown to really love Facebook’s “On This Day” reminders and recently re-posted a picture of an egg and a potato sitting in boiling water. A friend of mind suggested taking that “Food for Thought” one step deeper and asked if I would rather be the carrot, the egg, or the coffee bean and to Google it. So, I did.
And what a transformational story it was! But before I share with you why it was so transformational, let me share the carrot, the egg, or the coffee bean story with you. SPOILER ALERT: It’s a story about perspective, adversity and how you view the things that are happening in your life and I am certain it will have you thinking (and sharing) too.
The story goes like this:
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. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and the last she placed ground coffee beans.
She let them sit and boil without saying a word. In about twenty minute 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 into a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what you see?”
“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.
She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma.
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 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 being 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 the daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”
– Author Unknown
As a wife and business owner with my husband, a mother to an adult daughter, a daughter & caregiver to a young, disabled mother… living out each of these roles has helped me to better understand and remember that there are always two sides to every coin… that everyone has their story to tell… that your perception is your reality… and in the words of Charles Swindoll, “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”
Reading and reflecting on this story, I found myself asking these questions:
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 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 a 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 better and change the situation around you.
Through these uncertain times, no matter what brokenness is behind you, around you or in front of you, may you be encouraged to use the mind, body, gifts, talents, strengths, resources, and experiences God has given you to bring out the rich aroma of your life and share with others to enjoy.
ARE YOU A CARROT, AN EGG, OR A COFFEE BEAN?