"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner

19 February 2013

A Carrot, An Egg, or Coffee?

Last year, my lovely-to-the-core heart-sister Carol and her husband Keith took off with their four children on a God-called adventure to Thailand. Keith and Carol were leaders in my youth group when I was a freshman in high school (in Cameroon). I didn't know them well back then, but we just happened to reconnect two years ago. I have been so blessed by Carol's beautiful spirit and incredible writing ever since.
Carol recently posted this thought-provoking anecdote on FB, and because we seem to have a cold virus making its rounds in our little family (the sleep forecast doesn't look too good tonight), I thought I'd share it with you all. 
I love my daily cup of coffee, but this puts that cup in a whole new light. I'll have something to remember each morning as I start my day.
A Carrot, An Egg, or Coffee: Which Are You? 
Author Unknown
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 arose.

Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and 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 do you see?"

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.

She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The granddaughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma. The granddaughter then asked. "What's the point, Grandmother?"

Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity--boiling water -- but 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.

"When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"
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 a 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.
So which are you? A carrot, an egg, or coffee? 
*Carol just informed me that it was actually Keith who posted that story. "But," in her words, "Me is he and he is me." 
  Keith got the story from another friend from their Cameroon days. And speaking of Cameroon and coffee, check out the following links!
Espresso Coffee Guide
Mocha Joe's
 World Trader Coffee 

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