My 4th grader brought this home from school.  The class mystery reader brought it in to read to the kids and gave them a copy.  I’d never heard this before and made me reflect about my own actions and relationship to adversity.  

After I read this parable, I realized at different points in my life I have been all three. The more aware I become of my feelings and emotions + the more self care I commit too, the more like coffee I am able to be when adversity strikes.  How about you?

Carrots, Eggs, Coffee

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 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 out the carrots and placed them in a bowl.   She pulled out the eggs and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled out the coffee and placed it in a bowl.  Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what you see.”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.

Her mother brought her 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 richness and savored its 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.  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 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, it releases the fragrance and flavor.

If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst; you become even 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?

The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of things that come their way.

The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you cannot go forward in our life until you let go of your psat failures and heart aches.

May we all be coffee.

~Author Unknown

Have you heard of this parable before?  What are your thoughts?

Are similar to me?  I’ve been too hard for too long.  I’ve softened, but became to soft for a bit. The dance of self care and healing and desire have helped me immensely. As I focus more on how I want to feel, and take the actions to become that, I became less reactive. The more mindful I become the less tendency I have to become hard boiled.  If you need support in this area click here to learn about Desire Map Coaching. 

At different stages in your life have you been a different one than you are today? Share in the comments below.

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