The Most Beautiful Heart

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 perfect. There was not a mark or 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 even more loudly 
about his beautiful heart.

Suddenly, an old man appeared at the front of the crowd and 
said, "Why, your heart is not nearly as beautiful as mine."

The crowd and the young man looked at the old man's heart. It was 
beating strongly but was full of scars. It had places where peices 
had been removed and other peices put in but didn't quite fit right 
so that there were several jagged edges. In fact, in some places 
there were deep gouges where whole peices were missing.

The people stared. "How can he say that his heart is more 
beautiful?" they thought.

The young man looked at the old man's heart and saw it's 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. Often they give me a piece of their heart which fits into the 
empty places in my heart, but the peices aren't exact. That is why 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. Those 
are the empty gouges. Giving love is taking a risk. Although these 
gouges are painful they stay open reminding me of the love I have
for these people, too. I hope someday they may return and fill the 
spaces I have waiting. So, now do you see where the true beauty 

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 and placed it in 
his heart. Then he took a piece from his old scarred heart and 
placed it in the wound in the young man's heart. It fit.

How sad it must be to go through life with an unscarred heart.