Contents under pressure

Originally published in the Dickinson County News

This is the time of year when everything gets busy, 13 things are scheduled at the same time on a Saturday afternoon and the contents of this body are a tiny bit under pressure.

But I remain as good humored as I can, and I had to smile when my aunt sent me the following parable about the carrot, the egg and the coffee:

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life, and how things were so hard for her. She said she did not know how she was going to make it, and felt like she just wanted to give up.  She was tired of fighting and struggling… It seemed as if when one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother calmly took her into 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 pot, her mother 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 20 minutes, she turned off the burners.

She then fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them into 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.

Her mother brought her over 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 it mean, mother?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the exact same adversity – boiling water. And each reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak, more pliable.

The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid-like interior, but after sitting in 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 daughter. “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, the coffee 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?