The daughter 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. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as if, when one problem was solved a new one arose.
Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and 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 do you see?”
“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.
She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her 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 – but 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. However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.
“Which one 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?”
The coffee bean has an aroma in itself and in the midst of the boiling water it chose to release its fragrance and flavor and influenced the environment it was in. It influenced the very circumstance that brought the pain.
Be a coffee bean and do not let your adversities influence you. Instead let it bring out the best in you. In the midst of your darkest hour and pain do not give up, instead, fight back and move on to a higher level.
Adversity is a fact of life. It can’t be controlled. What we can control is how we react to it. Remember, smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.