What is YOUR adversity?  Are you the carrot, the egg or the bean?

The following story was shared with me by a Marine Mom while our sons were deployed and fighting the war in Iraq.  I wish I could thank the author for the inspiration and wisdom but the sage of this parable is unknown.  Fortunately, I was able to thank my friend for sharing…

Once upon a time a young woman was telling her Mom of her current life struggles. She was unhappy and not certain of her future.  She would solve one problem only for it to be replaced by another more difficult one.  Tired and distraught from this entire process, she wanted to give up!

Her wise and loving mother led her to the kitchen where she filled 3 pots with water and placed each on a burner over a high fire until the water came to a boil.

She placed carrots in the first pot.  In the second, she placed eggs.  In the last pot, she placed coffee beans.  She was deliberately silent while they boiled.  After 20 minutes she removed them from the heat.

The Mom removed the carrots from the pot and placed them in a bowl.  She did the same with the eggs.  Lastly, she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a mug.  Then, she asked her daughter to tell her what she saw.

The young woman stated the obvious, “carrots, eggs and coffee”.  Then her Mom asked her to dig deeper and feel the carrots.  The daughter observed they were soft.  When her Mom asked her to break an egg, she removed the shell and observed it was hard boiled.  Finally, the Mom asked her daughter to sip the coffee.  The young woman smiled as she savored the aroma and taste of the rich brew.

Confused by this, the daughter asked, “What does this all mean Mom?”

The Mother explained that all 3 items had experienced the same adversity – boiling water.  Yet, each reacted differently.  The carrots went in hard, strong and relentless but came out soft and weakened.  The egg was initially fragile and delicate but its interior became hardened by the boiling water.  The coffee beans were deliciously unique in that they used their adversity to alter and improve their environment.

It was the Mom’s turn to ask her daughter a question:

“Which one will YOU choose to be?”

PS Who doesn’t like a happy ending…

Post war homecoming picture