Spiritual Director · October 8, 2014

A Carrot, An Egg and A Coffee Bean

I had a wonderful weekend attending Men’s #72 Indiana-Kentucky Via De Cristo!  Whenever you pull aside from life and take time away to renew your faith, fellowship with others, eat too much, and worship it is good for the soul!  So while tired today it is “well with my soul.”  In talks and in fellowship time I learned again of the pain we all go through in life.

One man talked of his son committing suicide, one lost a marriage, another guy has current family issues, another would like to go into ministry but there is a long way to go before he could get there, serious health issues affect another.  I could go on but you get the point.  Life is hard but it becomes less so when shared with others and in prayer.  I think that’s what we do in the Via De Cristo, we as a team take on the pain and struggles of those attending and we serve them “washing their feet”.  They experience Jesus first hand and the load is lightened, if not forever in many cases I’ve witnessed, for the weekend.

Right now I am re-reading for the umpteenth time  the “At Home in Mitford” series by Jan Karon.  I highly, highly recommend them by the way.  In the book I’m reading now the town mayor is running for re-election.  Her slogan is “Mitford takes care of its own!” and I think that’s a great idea!  Our slogan “The Via De Cristo takes care of its own” and we do that with palanca (spell check wants to replace this word with “parlance”?), hugs, meals prepared, drinks poured, and the care and compassion of having three days with Jesus!  Through our VDC we see Jesus and through Jesus we learn again that God always takes care of His own!!!


Pr. Doug

NLS Spiritual Director



A Carrot, An Egg and A Coffee Bean

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 that as one problem was solved a new one arose.

Her mother 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 daughter, 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 daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked. “What’s the point, mother?”

Her mother 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 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 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?

Don’t tell GOD how big your storm is. Tell the storm how big your GOD is!

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Sue is NLS Spiritual Director, since 2019 and is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). Active in VdC since 1995, she has served two terms on the Board of the Texas VdC Secretariat, and also on the Texas Gulf Coast VdC Board as Spiritual Director since its start-up in 2017.