What Are You Made Of

A young woman went to see her mother and told her about all her troubles. Life was hard, and she felt like giving up. No sooner had one problem been resolved, it seemed, than a new one took its place. She was tired of the constant struggle.

Her mother took her into the kitchen and filled three pots with water. In the first pot she placed a carrot, in the second she placed an egg, and in the third she placed some ground coffee beans. She lit the stove and set the three pots to boil without saying a word.

Twenty minutes later she fished the carrot out and put it in a bowl. She pulled the egg out and put it in another bowl. Then she ladled the coffee through a strainer and into a cup. Turning then to her daughter, she asked, "What do you see?"

"A carrot, an egg, and coffee," the young woman replied.

"Feel the carrot," the mother said.

The daughter tried to pick it up, but it fell apart between her fingers. It had turned to mush.

"Now the egg," the mother said.

The daughter cracked the egg on the edge of the bowl, peeled away the shell, and pronounced it hard boiled.

"Now try the coffee."

The daughter smiled as she lifted the cup toward her mouth and breathed in the aroma, and she smiled even more broadly after the first sip. It tasted rich and full.

"So what's your point, Mother?" the young woman asked.

"The point is that the carrot, the egg, and the coffee all faced the same adversity—the boiling water—but each reacted differently. The carrot went in hard, strong and unrelenting, but became weak and fell apart. The egg had been fragile, but after sitting in the boiling water, it became hardened. The coffee beans were different. When they sat in boiling water, they changed the water. Which are you?" the mother asked. "When adversity knocks at your door how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean? What are you made of?"

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