Carrots, Eggs, and Coffee Beans


No, this is not a new weight loss diet or some strange health fad. Although I do think it is one way of measuring our spiritual health. I collect stories, fables and parables. One day I came across this one and tucked it away for future reference. Maybe I could use it as a lesson for my children or someone else I knew. Today I found it again and recognized it’s lesson for me.

A daughter complained to her father about life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of struggling. It seemed that as soon as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In one he placed carrots, in the second he placed eggs, and the last he placed ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil, without saying a word. The daughter sucked her teeth and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. In about twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them a bowl. Then he ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her he asked. “What do you see?” “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.

He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. She smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. She said, “What’s the point?”

He explained that each of the items had faced the same adversity – boiling water – but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong and hard. But 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 were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

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

Most of my life I have naturally been a coffee bean-type person. But lately I have been in some tough spots and have begun to feel rather fragile. As I read this story I realized that I have mixed myself  in with the wrong pot! I threw myself into the pot of eggs to try to rescue them, when that didn’t happen, I jumped into the pot with the carrots because my feelings were hurt. Today I realized, I’m a coffee bean, so I’m joining my brothers and sisters and I’m making a change in the world around me!

Come on in – the water’s great!

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