Monday, October 26, 2009

A Carrot, an Egg, or a Coffee Bean?

How do you respond when bad things happen?  Or tough and rough things?  Or even little disappointments?  Or simply unexpected changes?

Do you melt down and fall apart?  Go limp and give up?  Become hard and embittered?  Or do you release the fragrance that's within, become richer and enrich the lives around you?

Dennis emailed this to me on Friday.  It's not a new story, but I think it speaks to many of our situations and bears repeating.

Are You a Carrot, an Egg, or a Coffee Bean?

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 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 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 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 rich aroma.  

The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, Mother?"

The 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?" 

~Author Unknown

Which are you?  

Are you the egg that starts with a malleable heart that becomes hard with the heat of a trial? 

Are you a carrot that seems strong but becomes weak in adversity? 

Are you a coffee bean that even when ground and subjected to trial releases flavor and fragrance?  That changes the very circumstance that brings pain?

Which are you?  A carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?

"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."  James 1:2-4

Copyright © 2009 by Sandra Heska King


Eileen Astels Watson said...

I've never heard this story before. What an awesome one it is. I want to be coffee, but I fear I'm more carrot with most adversity. Must work on that.

Sandra Heska King said...

Me too.

Tamika: said...

I love this story. I received it in an email format some years back, but it still resounds with me today.

I consider myself to be the coffee bean.

Happy writing Sandra!

Sandra Heska King said...

I'd never heard it before, Tamika. But I think it's a keeper!

I think I'm going to go buy some coffee beans and pour some in a bowl to sit next to my 'puter...

lynnmosher said...

Awesome post, my sweet friend! I, too, hope I am coffee. I loved this. I wish you had an email subscription so I could get your posts in my inbox. RSS and I don't get along. I never read them! Blessings to you!

Sandra Heska King said...

Thanks, Lynn! Thanks for the email subscription idea. I just added a box. Hope it works!

Jody Hedlund said...

Beautiful analogy, Sandra! I definitely want to be like the coffee bean! But I don't think I always end up that way!

Sandra Heska King said...

Hi Jody,

I think we are drinking from the same bowl ;) But we keep pressing on!

~~Melinda Y.~~ said...

This was a brain teaser for me...glancing back, I have been a carrot, egg & coffee at different ventures.
Like the carrot, I have fallen weak under pressure. Like the egg, I have hardened my heart when life throws its painful darts into it.

However, as I mature in my faith, I have taken on the characteristics of coffee. My identity in Christ is reflected in my performance under life's pressures.

Thank You for sharing this insightful message with us:)

Sandra Heska King said...

I think you're right, Melinda. We have to mature into those coffee beans.

I so want to have that effect.

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