Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The carrot, the egg and the coffee

A dear friend of mine emailed this little story to me today and I thought I would share it...

The Carrot, the egg, and the coffee

A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee...You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.

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 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?'

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 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?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling.

Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

This sounds like my mother. My Mother is the consummate coffee bean.

My Mom has always encouraged me to think positively. Most of my life I resisted positive thinking, always affecting the "woe is me" attitude. Very much a carrot.

Through bad relationships, bad break-ups, missteps at school and work, natural and not-so-natural disasters, flooded basements, financial difficulties, and on and on, my Mom has always been there like a strong cup of coffee encouraging me and kicking me in the carrot-orange pants to get me back on track.

My husband, also, is a coffee bean. That man has overcome so much adversity (including living through several fires, being abandoned by his father when he was six, losing his mother just prior to our marriage) in his life, you would think he would be a carrot or an egg, but, no, he always has a smile on his face, is never in a bad mood and always manages to put a positive spin on things. He, too, has done his fair share of pulling me out of the dumps.

I have probably been more of an egg of late. I no longer wither and go limp, I lost that attribute long ago. Now I get hard and angry.

It's the times when I listened to my Mom and husband and approached a problem in a positive manner without wallowing in self pity or anger that I've actually been able to turn the situation around.

From this day forward I will strive to be a coffee bean with every fiber of my being (I resisted the urge to write "fiber of my beaning").

This morning provided the perfect opportunity to stretch my new-found bean-ness, if on a smaller scale. I dropped my little Carly off at her preschool (aside: the other two are staying at my parents' for a few days), and when I went to leave, she accidentally slammed the door up against the side of my face--OUCH!

Shake it off, Little Latte...I went on my way.

A little while later I was stitching out an order and noticed that the little bag I was embroidering had slipped a bit so I reached in to adjust it and darned if I didn't stitch through my finger--YOW!!! I started thinking, "It's going to be one of those days when everything goes wrong."

Whoa. Back up. That's exactly how an egg would see things.

What would a coffee bean do? (I can see the bumper sticker now, "WWACBD?")
After the small adversities I faced this morning, I decided I would channel my inner bean and go purchase some scratch off lottery tickets. I won $27.

I think I'll go buy a cup of coffee.


kristleharrison said...

I've heard this before.. And I too am always the egg.. Hardness and anger is my best defensive strategy. I too am working to become more like the bean. :D Good luck with that, and I think that from now on I'll be thinking of you when I go to make coffee for my hubby every morning! LOL

Suzi Homemaker said...

Better an egg than a carrot!!! This reminded me to be more patient with my children and not to dwell on the bad things--I'd much rather concentrate on the good, wouldn't you? Hey...I thought you were on vacation? Have a nice, relaxing vacay! We'll chat when you get back!