How do you handle hardship? When someone breaks your heart or when something goes terribly wrong, how do you cope with the situation? Do you keep to yourself and bottle up your feelings? Do you just give up fighting and resign yourself to whatever happens next? When this woman discovered that her marriage was over, she went to her grandmother for advice. Like you would expect, this strong and resilient grandma knew exactly how to give advice that her granddaughter could understand. And I will admit, this advice is golden!
A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life. Things were so hard for her – her husband had cheated on her and she was devastated. 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 soon as one problem was solved, a new one took its place.
Her grandmother took her into the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. The pots full of water began to boil. In the first pot, her grandmother placed carrots. In the second pot, she placed eggs. In the third pot, she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.
After ten minutes, she turned off the burners. She fished out the carrots and put them on a plate. She took the eggs and set them next to the carrots. She ladled out the water from the coffee beans and put it into a cup.
“Tell me what you see.” This wise grandmother instructed her granddaughter.
“Carrots, eggs, and coffee.” The girl replied, confused and still frustrated from earlier.
Her grandmother picked up a carrot and smashed it between her fingers. “Feel it.” Her grandmother said.
The granddaughter poked at the soft carrot and looked at her grandmother, who just handed her the egg. She broke it when her grandmother told her to. The shell was hard, but the egg itself was not hard-boiled and firm. Her grandmother gave her the cup of coffee, and when the girl took a sip, she smiled.
“What does it all mean, grandmother?” She asked, feeling a little better.
“Each of these objects faced the same adversity. They were all placed in the boiling water, but they each reacted differently. The carrot went into the water hard and strong, but it soon softened and became weak in the boiling water. The egg had been fragile, but after it’s trial, it hardened on the inside as well. The coffee grounds were unique. Once they sat in the boiling water, they changed the water, and they remained coffee beans. Now, which one are you?”
Her advice was not telling her granddaughter what to do – her advice was to decide how to react to the situation. Like the items in the pot, no one could stop the boiling water. The problem wasn’t going to just “go away” or fix itself. Now was the time for this young woman to decide how she would react at this pivotal moment in her life.
I’ve been the “egg” more times than I can count. Instead of dealing with my problems head-on, I would harden and keep my feelings inside. It is hardest to be the coffee bean, but in the end, it is the most rewarding! Which one are you, when the hard times roll around?
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