Adversity…Your Response.

Overcoming severe adversity is a major challenge. Yet, we hear so many stories about survivors overcoming monumental hurdles to achieve the seemingly impossible and others who turn their grief into action. They bring about change so no one else will know their anguish.

Mary Batty, Australian of the Year 2015, was a classic example. She has pulled off monumental changes in legislation after her beloved son was killed by his father through domestic violence.

Intrigues me how people can function after such loss and I quite liked this little parable I came across during the week. It somehow seems to explain how people respond using a very simple analogy but offers great insight.

Well, at least I think it does.

Here it is:

……..

Once upon a time a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed. Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire.

Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot and ground coffee beans in the third pot. He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup.

Turning to her, he asked. “Daughter, what do you see?” “Potatoes, eggs and coffee,” she hastily replied.

“Look closer”, he said, “and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted that they were soft.

He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.

Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.

“Father, what does this mean?” she asked.

He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity-the boiling water. However, each one reacted differently. The potato went in strong, hard and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak. The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard. However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.

“Which one are you?” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

Any thoughts? I’ve been a potato, egg and a coffee bean at different times…as much as I would like to say I was always the coffee bean!

Hope you are having a great week!

xx Rowenaa

9 thoughts on “Adversity…Your Response.

  1. Norah

    What a delightful post, Rowena. I really enjoyed reading it. It’s just what I needed today. The parable is great and, like you, I at times have responded in each of the three ways; and also like you, would rather be able to say that I’d always been the coffee response. I’ll be carrying this story with me for a long time. Thank you for sharing.

  2. merrildsmith

    I’ve seen several versions of this parable. In some, it’s the grandmother who shares the wisdom.
    I suppose, like most people, I’ve been all three.
    Hope you’re doing well!

  3. Rowena Post author

    You’re welcome, Norah. I also really enjoyed it and its simplicity. I have to share this with my kids. Indeed, it would be a great one to demonstrate and get them involved…aside from with the boiling water, of course.

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