This last few months have taken a toll on many of us. We have been through an emotional roller coaster of the unknown with depression or anxiety issues, sometimes grief and maybe anger, and we have been tested beyond belief. My heart goes out to those that had to go through self-isolation alone and those that lost loved ones.
I’m typically a pretty strong person, but I struggled daily for a good portion of those months. I could not concentrate on anything. I couldn’t write, nor could I find any inspiration for my Sunday Reflections posts. I was tired all the time, but couldn’t sleep. I didn’t really feel like talking to friends. It was awful feeling like that. I finally reached the point when I told myself that it was time “to put my girl panties on”, and then I remembered a story I had come across a few years ago and had tucked away in an inspiration notebook I had made.
It was the story about a carrot, an egg and coffee beans. I loved this story about choosing how we react to adversity and I wanted to share it with you. (author unknown)
Are You a Carrot, an Egg or a Coffee Bean?
This is a good lesson for all of us, no matter what stage of life you’re in.
A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her and she was devastated. 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 soon as one problem was solved, a new one arose.
Her grandmother 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, in the second she placed eggs, and in 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 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 granddaughter, she asked, ‘Tell me what you see.’
‘Carrots, eggs, and coffee,’ she replied.
Her grandmother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The grandmother then asked the granddaughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.
Finally, the grandmother asked the granddaughter to sip the coffee. The granddaughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The granddaughter then asked, ‘What does it mean, grandmother?’
Her grandmother 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 after sitting 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 her granddaughter. “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 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. 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?