"The Egg is Your Problem" - a Parable of Either/Or Choices

A student sought a teacher who was known to provide direction to those facing a tough decision. The teacher was found sitting in a room full of broken egg shells. The student approached the teacher and asked, "What am I to do with this problem I have?" The teacher handed the student an egg and said, "Break this egg without spilling the yoke." 

 Photo by  Oliver Zenglein  on  Unsplash

Confused the student held the egg loosely and after some time the student's hand grew tired, dropped the egg and yoke spilled on the student's shoe. The teacher placed another egg in the student's hand. Resolute to not drop this second egg, the student held it tightly only to crush the egg spilling the yoke once more. 

The teacher kept placing an egg in the student's hands and each time the student would hold the egg too loosely or too tightly. At last the student said, "it is not possible to break an egg and not spill the yolk."

"This is why you do not know what to do with your problem." The teacher said. "Hold the egg too loosely and they will spill out, hold them too tightly and it will make a mess. However, if you hold the egg properly with patience it will hatch and the yolk will not spill. The egg is your problem, hold it properly."


Update: The Henri Nouwen Society's daily reflection for January 5th, 2017 came into my inbox this morning. I share it in full as it is a helpful parallel to the parable above. 

"Patience is a hard discipline. It is not just waiting until something happens over which we have no control: the arrival of the bus, the end of the rain, the return of a friend, the resolution of a conflict. Patience is not a waiting passivity until someone else does something. Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later and somewhere else. Let's be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand."