Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on the heat until the water came to a boil. In the first, she placed a carrot, in the second she placed an egg, 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 carrot out and placed it in a bowl. She then pulled the egg out and placed it 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 carrot. She did and noted that it was soft. She then asked her to take the 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 took in the rich aroma and flavour.
The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, Mom?"
Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity -- boilin g 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 in the boiling water, they had chan ged 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 an illness, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, do 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 a hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean changes the water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor of your life. 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?