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 that 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 a boil. 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 minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She then 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 do 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 does it mean, 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 sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were put in the boiling water, they had changed the water with colour and a beautiful aroma.
“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?”
The egg, the carrot, and the coffee all went through the same trial: hot water. And yet, they each reacted differently, the inside of the egg hardened, the carrot softened altogether, and the coffee turned the water into something purely delicious. The same concept applies to us, to what happens to us when we go through our own hot water, don’t you think?
We all are going through trials of our own, but only we can decide if we will weaken and loose our courage and strength altogether – like the carrot, or have our hearts harden, and turn cold – like the egg, or to change the situation itself instead of wallowing in the misery of it, choose to improve the circumstances, and revise the entire environment itself – like the coffee.
How do you handle adversity? When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate to another level? Are you changed by your surroundings or do you bring life and flavor to them?