Carrots, Eggs & Coffee Beans

16 Nov

I am so happy to report that I am having a string of good days!  Today begins week 3 of this cycle and is where I usually begin feeling my best between treatments.  I’ve had enough energy to get on the treadmill and walk for the past few mornings and it’s felt great just to be moving again like that.

A sweet friend (Hi Diana!) forwarded a story to me yesterday that was so good I wanted to share it with you.  You may have seen this before, and if so, I apologize, but I think it would be worth reading again.


A young woman 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 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 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 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, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this:  Which am I?  Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

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, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff ?  Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like 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 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?


I would rather be the coffee bean, but I know my responses to stress, pain, adversity, trials, hardship, and just plain ‘ole change are often more like the carrot or the egg.  Something for me to think about this Wednesday.

♥ Rachel

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4 Responses to “Carrots, Eggs & Coffee Beans”

  1. Jennifer November 16, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    I think this cancer has made you all three in a good way. It has made you softer and even more caring than you were before. You see things through a different lens. It has made you harder and tougher in your ability to fight this thing and not give up. And your faith has made you change the water and make a very bad situation a blessing in disguise.
    From your loving sister who admires you so much.
    Jenn

    • rachturner November 17, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

      Hmmm….interesting (and incredibly kind) perspective. I’m pretty sure I’m not all that you say, but I’m glad that you think so. Love you.

  2. Kathy November 17, 2011 at 8:29 am #

    I agree with Jenn wholeheartedly.

    I think of you as the bean most of the time and when you feel like the carrot or the egg you are still saturated with coffee.

    • rachturner November 17, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

      That’s nasty. Can you imagine carrots and eggs covered with coffee. Kind of makes me nauseous. Uuggg…. ha ha!

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