by Simon Khayala, Kenya

In life, what matters most is how we react when faced with a situation.

As we begin the New Year, I ask us to reflect on whether we are any of the above; an egg, a potato, or a coffee bean.

I have a friend who can afford to laugh even when she is hurting deeply. It is a trait I greatly admire in her. What does it take? I always marvel. I am the exact opposite. When all is not well, I find it hard to pretend otherwise so when asked how I am, I will let the enquirer know what’s happening. Another friend can do the most difficult of tasks when faced with an equally difficult situation. Even when misfortune strikes, she can plan a project and get it working. When the situation is bad, she gets into autopilot mode.

Yet another friend is an emotional sucker. She becomes an emotional wreck when something small happen to her. Her children and husband knows this, so when something befalls them in her absence, they make sure no one tells her.

What am driving at is that we are all made different. We react differently to the same situation. That does not mean that whatever kind of person you are, you are right or wrong. It just means that you are unique.

Read this story:

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 that 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 over a higher fire. When the water 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 boiling for a while without saying a word to his daughter.

The daughter moaned and waited impatiently, wondering what her father was doing. After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes and eggs out of the pots, and placed them in different bowls, and poured the coffee into a cup. Turning to her he asked “What do you see?” “Potatoes, eggs and coffee,” she quickly 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 removing 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, eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity- boiling water. However, each one reacted differently.

The potato went in strong, hard and unrelenting, but in boiling water it become 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 being exposed in the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.

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

In life, things happen around us and to us, but what really matters is what happens within us. Which one are you? Which ever you are, go ahead and just be. You are uniquely made.