Thank you to my friend Laurie Miller for posting the story below on Facebook from a page called "A Mommy's perception".
My thoughts after reading it, were more than slightly illuminating to my state of being. Lately, though I could be the grandmother, I've felt like the granddaughter. It's a strange place to be, a mother who gave up her outside career to stay home with her daughters, home school, due some odd jobs teaching along the way (I'm a teacher) and be the Girl Scout Leader, The Swim Team Mom, The Crew Mom, the Sunday School Teacher and Administrator, keeping your time free to be at the beck and call of your family. A choice I willingly made. My life is changing now. My daughters are grown and though they are my best friends, they don't need me to parent them or even drive them anywhere, let alone make decisions for them. My body is changing, not all changes wonderful and freeing. My marriage is changing. For 22 years we've had children that needed to come first in the decisions we made. Beerhound was in the Navy and gone for long periods of time. He's retired now. Working a seniority management job with all the tension that it entails. Between the two of us, we're not even sure how to cook for a couple.
Some days I wake up confused. What do I do? Clean for the rest of my life? A house that soon won't need any cleaning (both girls are still at home but that's another complaint for another day - Thank you Mr. Bush for the economy you left us with). Do I follow my dreams while Beerhound works to provide for those dreams? Is that fair? What are my dreams? Are they even viable at my age and in my state of health?. I think they are but like the young granddaughter, I'm afraid and apt to complain to cover those fears of failure.
This is why as women, we need each other, at all stages of life. We need to be open to constructive instruction. We may be good young mothers but we don't have teenagers. We may be good mothers of teenagers but we don't have young adults. We may have a great marriage at 10 years but we haven't struggled through 28 years of life with the same man. I may be 50 but I am not 70 and have no idea how to get there.
It was nice to know that even at my place in life, I could read a story and feel my heart respond to the wisdom offered. Thank you for all those women ahead of me. Your knowledge is invaluable.
Grandmother Says... Carrots, Eggs, or Coffee; "Which are you?"
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 got 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?"
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 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.
When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level?