Wednesday was the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, a relatively new saint for our times. Father was telling us in his homily about St. Josephine's wonderful character despite her very difficult and terrifying life. She was so terrified when she was younger that she forgot the name that her parent's had given her!
His point was that, even amidst the trials and difficult life that St. Josephine had, she still remained a very kind and compassionate person. She could have easily turned into a mean and hardened person, but instead she allowed the grace of God, whom she didn't even know about until she was older, to work in her and make her "saint material".
He then told us the story of a British woman and her husband who were missionaries in India. While there, the woman's husband died, leaving her all alone and upset in a foreign country. The woman sought the advise of a holy man about what she should do next.
The man took her into his kitchen and showed her a potato and and egg. He asked her what happens to each of them when they are put in a pot of boiling water.
The woman answered correctly that the egg gets hard and the potato gets soft. The man then told her that that was the choice she had in this situation. She could become hardened and embittered by her experience (like the egg) or she could allow it to soften her character so that she became even more compassionate and caring (like the potato). She knew then that her choice would be to become like the potato, so she stayed in India and continued to minister to the poor.
What a wonderful lesson and a great reminder for all of us. We are all going through trials right now; some big, some little. Whether they are financial or health related or something else, we are being given the opportunity to decide how they will shape us. Each time we respond to a situation, we are either becoming more like the egg or more like the potato. What a great visual to carry with me as we forge through some trying times right now. It is my prayer that I always choose the potato and not the egg!