Boiling Water

Some themes, poems, stories and experiences stick with me, mulling them over and over.  I take them out and reread them and consider their import….why do I keep thinking about some of these?  One such story is The Potato, the egg and Hot chocolate (I like it better than coffee in the original story.) Story below if you haven’t read it before.  It’s been bouncing around the Internet for years.

The question at the end is which are you?

I believe I looked at this all wrong.  I was comparing which is better to get soft from experiences or get hard or get better.  Lately my thoughts whirled things around.

All three experienced the same thing, boiling water.  Before the potato is boiled it is raw, hard, starchy and I don’t know many people that like to eat raw potatoes.  (My kids did when we had a garden and grew are own red potatoes.  Ate them like apples with no seeds.)  Here is what happens to the potato it changes from being hard and inedible to squishy softness add a bit of butter and mash them up and ohhhh wow do they taste good.  But keep boiling that potato until the water boils off and the resulting mess is disgusting and again inedible.  Takes vinegar and water to scrub and clean out the pan.  The egg was hard on the outside and a liquid on the inside and to me inedible.  Yes I used to make eggnog with raw eggs but it takes a lot of sugar to make me drink it.  A hard boiled egg is delicious.  However, if you put an egg in the microwave, a disastrous mess.  Yup, someone did it and put it on Youtube.  Hot chocolate or coffee over cooked or the wrong proportions can turn delicious into a muddy bitter sludge suitable only for a trash can.  My thoughts now, this is an over simplified example of people reacting to challenges.  Put a person in an abusive situation and things get messy.  REALLY, really messy.

The story suited me at one time in my life when I challenged myself to find something good in the mess.  Now I wonder if every mess has possibilities and liabilities.  Changing more.  LIFE happens…..what are you going to do about it?  Life isn’t simply getting harder, softer or delicious sometimes it is the challenge of finding the shiny pot buried on burnt on potatoes or scraping the egg off your face or dumping the sludge and starting over.  Somethings are worth rescuing, sometimes you let go of them, and sometimes you feel lucky that things turned out delicious.


Potato, egg, coffee

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 a bowl. He then ladled the coffee / hot chocolate 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 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? “
In life, things happen around us, things happen to us, but the only thing that truly matters is what happens within us.
Which one are you?

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