A wise tale for anyone that’s ever been cheated on.
There are times in life where you just want to curl up in the fetal position and cry. You feel broken, like you don’t have the strength or the desire to go on. Maybe your boyfriend or girlfriend cheated on you, or you’ve been fired from a job. Everything sucks so badly that you don’t see how things could ever get better.
This simple story can help. It illustrates the best way to handle adversity and how we can take those challenges, disappointments, and overall crappy things that happen to us, and use them to create better versions of ourselves.
A young woman was visiting with her grandmother one day and telling her how difficult her life was. She had discovered that her husband had cheated on her.
“Gran, I give up. I’m just not strong enough to fight anymore. Everything seems to be going wrong and when one problem is resolved, another one ten times worse happens. I swear I’m done.”
Her grandmother looked at her, dried her tears, and brought her into the kitchen. There, the grandmother filled three pots with water and put them on the stove. When the pots started to boil, she placed carrots in the first pot, eggs in the second and ground coffee beans in the third.
The young woman and her grandmother didn’t say anything and just watched them boil. After about twenty minutes, the grandmother turned off the heat from under all the pots, and brought the contents of each out and put them in bowls.
“Tell me what you see,” the grandmother asked.
“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” the granddaughter replied thinking her grandmother’s mind wasn’t as sharp as it used to be.
“Feel the carrots,” the grandmother told her granddaughter. “Then take an egg and break it. Lastly, take a sip of the coffee.”
The granddaughter did as she was told and then asked, “What are you trying to tell me?”
“You see, honey, each of these objects faced the same adversity and each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the scalding water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile with only a thin shell protecting its liquid interior, but after sitting in boiling water, its inside had become hardened. The ground coffee beans were different than the other two — instead of being changed by the water, they had changed it.”
The granddaughter nodded her head in agreement and wishing the science experiments in seventh grade had been as instructional.
“Which one are you?” The grandmother asked her granddaughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you react? Are you a carrot which seems strong but with pain and adversity; do you become soft and lose your strength; or are you the egg that starts out with an adaptable heart but changes with the heat?
Do you have a fluid spirit usually, unless something bad happens like a death, a breakup or job loss, and then you become hardened and inflexible? Do you look the same on the outside, but inside do you become bitter and tough?”
The granddaughter was listening and trying to make sense of every word her grandmother said.
“Are you like the ground coffee beans that actually changed the hot water, the very circumstance that brought the pain? When the water gets hot it releases the wonderful coffee smell and takes on the flavor of the coffee. If you’re like the bean, when things are at their worst, instead of giving up, you get better and stronger and change the situation around you,” the grandmother explained.
The young woman hugged her grandmother and with clarity went to go talk to her husband. As she was almost outside the door, her grandmother said, “Be the coffee, honey. Always try to be the coffee.”
In the end, the happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best everything, and every day isn’t find with lollipops and unicorns — it’s just that happy people make the best of whatever comes their way.
The brightest future is built on a forgotten past. It was a wise person who gave this great life advice: you can’t go forward in life until you let go of your past failure and heartaches.
Don’t let adversity knock you so low that you can’t get up again. Try to learn from it, forgive if you can, and know that trials help make you strong, sadness keeps you human and happiness helps make you sweet.