A young woman went to her grandmother 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 would pop up.

Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire, and soon the pots came to boil. In the first pot 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 granddaughter, she asked, “Tell me what you see?”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.

Her grandmother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The grandmother then asked the granddaughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg. Finally, the grandmother asked the granddaughter to sip the coffee. The granddaughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma then asked, “What does it mean, grandmother?”

Her grandmother 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 granddaughter.

Carrot, egg and coffee bean

When adversity knocks on your doors, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

The moral of the story:

Now think about life. Life is never easy. Life is not always comfortable. Life is sometimes very hard.

Things do not happen like we wish. People do not treat us like we hope. We work long hours. We are very hardworking. Yet we get few results. What happens when we face adversity?

Now think about the pots. The boiling water is like the problems of our life.

We can be like the carrots. We go in tough and strong. We come out soft and weak. We get very tired. We lose hope. We give up. There is no more fighting spirit. Do not be like the carrots!

We can be like the eggs. We start with a soft and sensitive heart. We end up hard and unfeeling inside. We hate others. We do not like ourselves. We become hard-hearted. There is no warm feeling, only bitterness. Do not be like the eggs!

We can be like the coffee beans. The water does not change the coffee beans. The coffee beans transform the hot water.

The water has become different because of the coffee beans. See it, smell it and drink it. The hotter the water, the better the fragrance and taste.

We can be like the coffee beans. We make something good from the difficulties we face. We change the situation around us.

In the end, we learn new things. We have new knowledge, new skills and new abilities. We have many friends. We grow in experience.

We can make the world around us better.

To succeed, we must try… and try again. We must believe in what we are doing. We must not give up. We must be patient. We must keep pushing.

Problems and difficulties give us the opportunity to become strong… and better… and tougher.

Be like the Coffee Bean!

Author’s Notes:

I do not claim ownership to this parable. I received it from an email. I am sharing them hoping to bring joy and laughter to you – as “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” – Proverb 17:22.