A young woman went to her grandmother and spoke about her life and how things were so hard for her. She didn’t 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 filled three pots with water. In the first she placed carrots, in the second eggs and in the ground coffee beans. She put them on to boil in water without saying a word. After 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,” the woman replied.
The grandmother brought the girl closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they got soft.
Gran then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.
Finally, she asked the girl to sip the coffee. The granddaughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. Then asked. “What’s the point?”
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 boiling water it softened and became weak.
The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected a liquid interior. But after sitting through the boiling water its inside became hardened.
The ground coffee beans were unique however. They alone 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?”
Think of this: Which am I?
Am I the carrot that seems strong but with pain and adversity do I wilt, 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?
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 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 hours are darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level?
This story by an unknown author is a classic Strength tale.
The Strength card lies at the beginning of the Adulthood section of Life Lessons Tarot (the Major Arcana.) The challenge of this card is to be true to your own desires and beliefs no matter what. In the face of a scary opponent it is tempting to wilt/back down/be intimidated (the carrot) or to develop a tough lion-like hide (the egg). But when you have true inner strength you will be able to stand your ground and change the world around you (the coffee bean.) Tame the wild beasts.
So which are you: carrot, egg or coffee bean?