Confronting Adversity

After reading this little gem 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 difficult. 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 and larger challenge appeared.

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 pot 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 and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me, what you see?” “Carrots, eggs and coffee,” replied the daughter.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked her daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell she observed the hard boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked her 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 and 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 in the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks at your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?” Think about this analogy; where do you stand? Are you the carrot that appeared strong, but with pain and adversity do you wilt and become soft and lose your strength and commitment?

Are you the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Do you have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a relationship breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have you become hardened and stiff? Does your shell look the same but on the inside are you bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or are you like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstances which caused the pain. When the water got hot, it released the fragrance and flavour. 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? Count your blessings, not your problems. Putting others first makes relationships last. There are moments in life when you miss someone so much you just want to pick them from your dreams and hug them for real. Don’t go for looks, they can deceive. Don’t go for wealth, even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile, because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright. Look for the one who puts a smile on your face.

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 make the most of everything that comes along their way. When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so that at the end, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.