Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Wane A. Hailes


There are a lot of people in our community, as well as our families, who are going through difficult situations. There is no question we are living in trying times. The truth is that we all find ourselves going through struggles at one time or another. It is how we choose to deal with adversity that defines us.


Here is a story that may help someone who is struggling today. 


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.


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 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 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 daughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?”


“Carrots, eggs and coffee,” the young woman replied. The mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked her daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as the young woman took in 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, it softened and became weak after.


The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But after sitting in boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. They had changed the water.


“Which are you?” the mother 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 hardens with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup or a financial hardship, does my shell look the same? 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 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 hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?




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