One day a young man was standing in the middle of the town proclaiming that he had the most beautiful heart in the whole
valley. A large crowd gathered and they all admired his heart for it was
There was not a mark or a flaw in it. Yes,
they all agreed it truly was the most beautiful heart they had ever
seen. The young man was very proud and boasted more loudly about his
Suddenly, an old man appeared at the front
of the crowd and said, "Why your heart is not nearly as beautiful
The crowd and the young man looked at the
old man's heart. It was beating strongly, but full of scars, it had
places where pieces had been removed and other pieces put in, but they
didn't fit quite right and there were several jagged edges. In fact, in
some places there were deep gouges where whole pieces were missing.
The people stared -- how can he say his
heart is more beautiful, they thought?
The young man looked at the old man's
heart and saw
its state and laughed. "You must be joking," he said.
"Compare your heart with mine, mine is perfect and yours is a mess
of scars and tears."
"Yes," said the old man,
"yours is perfect looking but I would never trade with you. You
see, every scar represents a person to whom I have given my love - I
tear out a piece of my heart and give it to them, and often they give me
a piece of their heart which fits into the empty place in my heart, but
because the pieces aren't exact, I have some rough edges, which I
cherish, because they remind me of the love we shared. Sometimes I have
given pieces of my heart away, and the other person hasn't returned a
piece of his heart to me. These are the empty gouges -- giving love is
taking a chance.
Although these gouges are painful, they
stay open, reminding me of the love I have for these people too, and I
hope someday they may return and fill the space I have waiting. So now
do you see what true beauty is?"
The young man stood silently with tears
running down his cheeks. He walked up to the old man, reached into his
perfect young and beautiful heart, and ripped a piece out. He offered it
to the old man with trembling hands.
The old man took his offering, placed it in his heart and then took a
piece from his old scarred heart and placed it in the wound in the young
heart. It fit, but not perfectly, as there were some jagged edges.
The young man looked at his heart, not
perfect anymore but more beautiful than ever, since love from the old
man's heart flowed into his.
They embraced and walked away side by
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