Carrots, Eggs, and Coffee

Morning Story and Dilbert

Morning Story and Dilbert

A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee…You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.

A young woman went to her mother 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 mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first 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 daughter, she asked, “Tell me what you see.”

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

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma the daughter then asked, “What does it mean, mother?”

Her mother 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 insides 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 daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this: Which am I?

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 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. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can’t go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling.

Live your life so at the end, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

By - Jack Jack Kornfield
83 comments
  1. Thank you for post ing this. Memorable story, I believe I have heard it before but cant remember where! In any case, it is a classic and inspiring when faced with adversity. Although it is easy to read and say I want to be the coffee, and then reality hits and my flawed human nature molds me into the carrot or egg. Becoming coffee requires a reliance on faith and a determined attitude to see the best of the situation and use it in a way that will bless me or others. And that is the hardest of all when already overwhelmed by basic day by day tasks.

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  2. kiwiskan said:

    A great story which I have shared on Facebook. The cartoon is, unfortunately, a bit to today’s truth.

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  3. I concur with the previous post. This is a powerful illustration. Thank you for posting it! I am going to use it.

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  4. What a wonderful example of exactly how we are to be as children of the Living God. We can either allow “hot/boiling water” make us into mush, or harden our insides (heart) or allow our faith and love in the Lord’s promises to truly make us change the situation.
    Very powerful!!
    Thanks for sharing… blessing
    Stephanie

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  5. Reblogged this on Learning My Path Towards God and commented:
    Though my life resembles an orangy carrots with an outer attired of hard boiled eggs. Humm produce and poultry, must learn to be more like coffee. Any chance for a slight order subsitution to tea leaves. Excellant posting from a very good inspirational blogger. Thank you for sharing

    Like

  6. raisingsmartgirls said:

    I’m at a really, really low point spiritually. I can’t even begin to describe what’s been sent my direction time and time again. However, I will say this: I wrote on a fellow bloggers post about some very legitimate personal and social reasons why I’m angry with Christians.

    My husband and I are in a really trying financial situation – two college-degreed individuals with three daughters, once of whom has been recently diagnosed with asthma and recently contracted influenza and it’s causing her respiratory problems. Our self-paid insurance is terrible. We are racking up the medical bills a lot.

    My husband an engineer laid for for 2 years and gets interviews but no call-backs. I haven’t worked in my field for 8 years (medical genetics). He’s got his massage therapy license, but doesn’t get a lot of clients right now. I’m substitute teaching, but it’s not enough. We have about $10,000 in cc debt, and I think about $3000 in medical bills. I have to give my daughter another dose of antibiotic (she’s already on an antiviral but she started getting mucus in her lungs) and my daughter started showing signs of being allergic to it. The doctor said they won’t switch medicines unless she has a full-on allergic reaction…so we might be taking her to the ER again tonight.

    I’ve got a cold too. A few weeks back, I had contracted a nasty stomach virus.

    I’m trying to look at the bright side of things…but it’s hard to see any.

    Anyway, in my friends’ post, I said, “you know, if God wants me to believe in him, he really ought to send better examples of Christians my way” – because the ones who’ve been in my path have been very extremely hurtful (and I told him some examples).

    I took a shower and thought about my situation and my daughter’s health and how upset I really am but trying to keep going on. I also realized I’m mad at God, too. I have had many blessings and opportunities and friends, yet pretty much all of them have been taken away from me too. I don’t understand why.

    I have been searching and searching for answers and the ‘way’, in church and outside of it, to no avail. When I asked for understanding, support and wisdom, I only get judgment and disgusted responses.

    I took a shower a little while ago (it’s late in the afternoon, but I’ve been really feeling miserable).

    I asked in my own mind if God just hates me because of all I’d been through since childhood (abusive/dysfunctional family). I asked myself: “if God exists, does he just not give a sh*it what’s happened/happening in my life”? (sorry for the swearing, but that’s what I thought) It’s hard not to think such ugly thoughts when you don’t see any good coming your way.

    And I came online, saw that you “liked” one of my posts…and I clicked on your blog and read this post. And promptly bawled for five minutes.

    I don’t know if this is God’s way of communicating with me…or what. I don’t know if I believe in God, but I believe in the spirit in which stuff like this happens. I don’t know for sure what to make of it. Except, I like the part about trying to make the best of what comes your way. It’s hard though…awful hard especially when your faith is on incredibly shaky ground.

    Anyway…just, thanks. Thanks for the post. I hope God was really trying to tell me something here, through you.

    Casey.

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    • Hello Casey, My heart aches for you and I will not pretend to understand your plight, but know sometimes God gives us a test. How much do you love HIm, if you have nothing, will you still praise, worship and honor him when there is nothing but Him. If it’s one thing I know about the Lord, and I’m in a Job-like position myself—divorced, teens decided to live with their father who kept the house, making less than half my salary, and I am alone in my apartment more often than I anticipated. However, God says in his WOrd, which I believe is true, that he will never leave nor forsake us—those who trust, obey and follow Him. For the past three years, with all that has transpired God has humbled and stripped me of who I thought I was without Him, now I know for sure I am nothing without Him and have everything with Him. I pray that you will let God use this circumstance to show you he loves you and has not left you.

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      • raisingsmartgirls said:

        Ang –

        It could be as you say. Thank you for the kind words. I don’t normally post my spiritual struggles, but this was one time when I just had to spill.

        I don’t have any other options right now, but to try what I haven’t tried before, in a very long time – and trust when I find it so very hard to.

        After all, there had to be a reason I came across this very post within moments of making my silent questions, right?

        Thank you.

        Casey

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        • Casey,
          A few months ago, I wanted to bow out of the social media world. A wise friend said, let God use you, you have know idea how your comments inspire. I only used Facebook at that time. Now, I’m slowing blogging and tweeting…so I leave with you a few verses that I carry in my spirit, I meditate on when days are tough and I want to say “Lord, today, I’m done.”

          Father God, I pray these scriptures for Casey and her family. I ask that you put your hand on her and let her know how much you care, show her your love, quickly Lord do not wait. For your word says “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you” (Psalm 32:8); “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:13); “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them” (Isaiah 42:16).

          Now the God of hope fill Casey with joy and peace on believing that she may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen

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          • raisingsmartgirls said:

            Thank you so very much ang..

            I read this last night but I didn’t respond because it got to be so late and I was so tired and worn out. I was afraid if I started writing, I’d start crying all over again. But I said thank you in my heart.

            My daughter had no reaction to the antibiotic this time. I am so thankful for that. Last night and this morning were still draining for me, but I’m finally feeling a little better. I’ll have to print out those scriptures, and remember them when I am feeling so low.

            I have a little more energy right now…and feeling more hopeful.

            Again thank you, and thank you, too Kenny, for your prayers too.

            Many blessings to you both.

            Casey

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        • My mother would shout with glee, a few months ago I told her I wasn’t about to share my testimony. Praise God for you and your stories Kenny T.

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    • Casey, I have been nominated for many Blogging awards which are very honorable and can be presented on a Blog like a trophy. That kind of award is nothing compared to what you just shared. Earlier this afternoon I was laying on our couch and the strongest presents of Lord came over me. I felt like I needed to pray but didn’t know what or who to pray for. I began to pray in my spirit….. and I know what for now. It was for you….. Please know that you are a wonderful child of God!!!!! Take Care and God Bless 🙂 Kenny T

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      • raisingsmartgirls said:

        Kenny, I’m touched, truly.

        So far, my daughter has had no reaction to the second dose of antibiotic. I hope it stays that way…but it still could happen. I think I’ll breathe a sigh of relief in about 3 more hours. That’s the most important thing. I can deal with the bills and other worries later.

        If you (or your readers) feel called to pray some more, please play for my daughter, Emily, that her lungs clear and she doesn’t worsen. With the asthma coupled with the influenza, she’s at a higher risk for pneumonia.

        And now I can go back and read that story I cried my way through. It really is beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing it and I’m feeling more hopeful.

        I have a mother, but one who is so opposite of one depicted in that story. She has not ever been one I could turn to…and though I’m a mother myself, that still hurts that I can’t do that.

        I think when my daughters go to sleep, I might take some time to really sit and talk to God about what just happened today and the timing of it and all.

        Thank you so very much for the prayers, Casey.

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  7. I have heard this story before, then I was a egg: fragile until faced with adversity I became hardened and bitter. Praise God, I can say today I’m a coffee bean fragrant and flavorful making the best and sweetest time despite adversity.

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  8. George Hayward said:

    Five minutes ago, coffee was an acceptable beverage in times of need. Now, coffee is a brave role model, resilient in the face of danger and ready to adapt to the most formidable foes, especially boiling water, all for my benefit. Wow, what a selfless, noble cup of coffee!

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  9. Hi, I just wanted to thank you for reading my blog! Stop by again…..

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  10. Worn to Won said:

    Reblogged this on Worn to Won and commented:
    I really relate to this, it is always our reaction to adversity that reveals what we are truly made of. Enjoybthecread and thanks again to Kenny for the blog.

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  11. Usually I am not home on a Sunday morning. But, I am exhausted. It isn’t anything I can explain. In a few minutes, I’ll keep company with Charles Stanley instead of my church family. (I can do that with a cup of coffee and not dressed up) Thank you for this story/illustration. Since I am staying away from people today, I guess I am NOT the coffee. Oh well, another day! Every day is an adventure regardless of our circumstances. We put our hand in His, and walk the path together. I say to those walking through trials, stay with the Word of God. You do not need to have anyone explain it; just let is wash over you as you read. It will be all you need–really, it will.

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    • The idea of reading and letting it wash over you is profound. How awesome. It reminds me of how many times Jesus explains things to the disciples, and they don’t actually get. They still question his power, his words, his being.

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  12. jennymiller62 said:

    Great blog! I’m glad I stopped by and read it. And thank you for reading my blog.

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  13. From one coffee bean to another! : ) Thanks for posting this, and for liking my blog as well. Always great to find kindred spirits on line! Looking forward to seeing more of your work!

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  14. Thank you for stopping by my website.

    “When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?” Great question, and I loved this story!

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    • “When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? I like this question. this would be transcendence. I’ve been meditating on this word for a few weeks, as my next blog post. I think this question is great to prompt my post.

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  15. **As a 2 yr newly formed consistent “coffee beaner” this was an excellent way 2 describe how one should handle lifes’ trials & tribulations..Some of us it takes a bit longer to learn how to deal with the drama that can come our way in this life journey..Just glad I finally got here! Learning to make lemonade out of lemons is a much better way of dealing with things. On any level…there IS always a bright N sunny side UP. Thanks once again for sharing a positive vibe…

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  16. MamaRupp said:

    For my love of coffee and a great stories, I definitely will be reblogging this and sharing it on Facebook.

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  17. MamaRupp said:

    Reblogged this on Blind Mom in the Burbs and commented:
    Here is a wonderful story that makes you think about how you will act in times of adversity. I will never look at a cup of coffee in the same way after reading this.

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  18. I preached this one Sunday at church last year. It was equally well-received. I believe I discovered it in AFTER THE ECTASY, THE LAUNDRY, a wonderful book by Jack Kornfield. He shares hundreds of stories told by other people.

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  19. Jen C. said:

    This definitely made me cry. Reblogged to 100% Chance of CHANGE and added that it was reblogged from — Morning Story and Dilbert with the link to this post. Thank you. I just started following your blog today, I LOVE it!!!

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    • …..and serve Coffee at the end of the service. I’m just sayin… LOL Take Care my Friend 🙂 Kenny T

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  20. Reblogged this on weepingintodancing and commented:
    THIS IS A WONDERFUL POST. THE STORY ABOUT CARROTS, EGGS, AND COFFEE IS REALLY WORTH READING AND THEN REFLECTING UPON.

    Like

  21. Reblogged this on angchronicles and commented:
    In a Place of Adversity
    Enjoy this reblogged post Carrots, Eggs, and Coffee from Morning Story and Dilbert. I’ll share first. Once upon a time I was an egg: fragile until faced with adversity, then I became hardened and bitter. Praise God, I can say today I’m a coffee bean fragrant and flavorful making the best and sweetest time despite adversity. Which one are you a carrot, egg, or coffee bean?

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  22. Sherri Ohler said:

    I really love this. And reading through the comments and your response to the woman questioning God brought a big smile to my face and tears to my eyes. Being Christian sure isn’t easy, but oh so worth it! Amen!
    Merry Christmas to you,
    Sherri

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  23. Caitlin said:

    great post! I love when things that we encounter on a daily basis can teach us such lessons!

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  24. Great story-one that causes you to think-are you a whiner or a winner and I thank you for stopping by and reading my post

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  25. MissMangue said:

    Very good, Dilbert is a funny man. I love the cartoon. Thanks for stop by my blog. I just Reblog your post.

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  26. MissMangue said:

    Reblogged this on MissMangue and commented:
    I just found this pos, and i think is funny useful. Is the kind of post make you think about life attitude.

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  27. Thank you for sharing, great post, have shared it on declaringhispower

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  28. pegges said:

    oh my gosh, what an amazing story! LOVE it! … thank you

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  29. I love this story and what it teaches. You are a blessing! Thank you for the likes on my blog. Sometimes I read something and think of you and how you would like it. Take care and have a beautiful Christmas.

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  30. Reblogged this on nooodles. and commented:
    🙂 Remember, it’s not about how tough life it, it’s about how you’re taking it!

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  31. Argus said:

    I’d like to be a coffee but in truth am more your basic egg. Put me down as half-done (hard on the outside but soft in the centre) …

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  32. I love this story, heard it a long time ago on radio and it has stuck to my heart ever since. The only way we can act as coffee is to have a relationship with the one who created coffee

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  33. MotomiS said:

    Thank you for visiting my blog. Can I repost to my facebook? it sounds really great!

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  34. Hi again Baristabee here. I love this story I used it with my staff when they were complaining at work 🙂

    Jan Landis
    Queenbee

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  35. Thank you sooo much, faced with adversity this morning I really needed to read this post. Thank you again for the energy to face it all.
    Simply Jyune
    xo

    Like

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