A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She didn't 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 into 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, the mother placed carrots, in the second, eggs, in the third 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 into a bowl. Then ladled the coffee out and placed it into a bowl. Turning to her daughter she said "What do 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 the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling the shell off, 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, "so 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 insides 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 and egg, or a coffee bean?"
"Think of this, am I the carrot that seemed strong, but with pain and adversity, wilt and become soft and weak?"
"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, break up, a financial hardship, or some other trial, have I become hardened ans stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside I am bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?"
"Or am I 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 the trials are the greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"