Stories of Kindness from Around the World

A Carrot, an Egg or a Coffee Bean?

--by Hafeez, posted Sep 4, 2007
A young woman went to her mother and told her how hard her life was. She said she wanted to give up; she was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose. 

So, 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 had been in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity or change knocks on your door, how do you respond?
“Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

“Are you the carrot that seems strong, but with change and adversity will you wilt and become soft and lose your strength?  “Are you the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat?  Do you have a fluid spirit, but faced with a death, a break-up, a financial hardship or some other trial, do 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? “The coffee bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavour.

“If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and provide strength and happiness for those around you. “When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, can you elevate yourself to another level?”
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Readers Comments

katrina wrote: good lesson 4 me... thnx!
Mary wrote: Going doing through financial difficulties at present doing my best to put on a strong front for my son's and placing my trust in God!!! Lovely story!
Solomon R. John wrote: Brilliant writing and relevant in today's turmoil situation. It has provoked my thought. And quite similar to what I had experienced in the kitchen while cooking. I believe any thing we do in work place or at home, there is a lesson ever before us to learn. Learning never ends. I wish that all those who have given up in their life will read and renew the life trusting God.
Elizabeth wrote: This was a truly inspiring story and so true. Showed me a thing or two. I copied it and posted it on my blog in order to share it's message to others (not for gain).
koolmom64 wrote: So enlightening, just what I needed today!
akbj wrote: I am going through a lot of things right now & in the past couple of years, lost a spouse, lost my long term job, have disabilities that make job hunting hard. I succombed to depression for a long time, & am slowly coming out of it as I face up to things, especially major financial hardship. I ignored things for a long time, & that didn't help. This story made me think about myself in relation to the world in a new way. Thank you
simpleton wrote: very nice story! thanks for sharing!
mangojuice wrote: very nice story. made me reflect about my life too. thanks a lot for sharing!
senga988 wrote: Thanks very much for this story, I was looking for it to pass on to my daughter. She has gone through many trials the last year. Perhaps this will put perspective on things for her. Blessing to you. It has made me realise what I truly am.
lovebug wrote: The only thing, I know, is I am tired. No I don't thing I can elevate myself to another level. The only thing I am certain of, is We have forgotten the Holocaust. We have been reduced to numbers. Is that the way it should Be? I have to admit, I do not know. I can not be sure, but I believe God created me in his image and I do not have to confokm to the world. I do not conform, I will stand alone and God will provide away, I may not like it. But I am willing to stand. I am not a number, I Am creatated in His image.Only time will tell. This I do know,I willl not conform , and I will survive.

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