A ego driven young man was standing proudly in the middle of the town square proclaiming to all … that he had the most beautiful and perfect heart in the whole valley.
It was not long before a large crowd of his townsmen gathered and they all admired the sheer beauty of his heart … for it was perfect. There was not a mark, not one blemish or a flaw on or in it.
But all of a sudden … all of the compliments began to drift away like a distant echo as an old man appeared at the front of the crowd and said, “I once had a heart that looked just like yours … But I must say … Your heart is not nearly as beautiful as mine son.”
The crowd and the young man looked at the old man’s heart. It was beating strongly, but it looked mangled … tattered even and 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. The young man looked at the old man’s heart tattered heart and laughed.
“You must be joking old man,” he said. “You can’t compare your heart with mine … mine is perfect … literally flawless and yours is a mess of scars and tears.”
“Yes,” said the old man, “Your heart is perfect … but only from the outside … I would never trade with you. You see, every scar you see on my heart … every mark and jagged edge that is visible represents a person to whom I have given my love … when I love someone … I tear out a piece of my heart and give it to them … and often they give me a piece of their heart back, which fits into the empty place in my heart … but because the pieces aren’t exact, I have some rough edges.”
”Sometimes I have given pieces of my heart away … and the other person hasn’t returned a piece of their heart to me. These are the empty gouges … this has taught me that love can be dangerous … when someone has the courage to be the giver of love … they are taking a chance every single time.”
“Does it hurt?” asked they young man … “Of course,” said the old man… “Although these gouges are painful, they have taught me and continue to to teach me about what it means to love. And as they stay open, they reminding me of the love I have for these people that were in my life … I hope someday they may return and fill the space I have open from the piece of my heart that I willingly gave to them. This is why I say to you my young friend … I would never trade mine for yours. Do you see what true beauty is?”
As the crowd stood in silence … The young man stood there humbled … he simply had no words … his eyes began to well up as he slowly lowered his head. As tears began to run down his face … He walked up to the old man, reached into his perfect young flawless heart, and ripped a piece out … and offered it to the old man.
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 freshly endured wound in the young man’s 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.