A young man was proud of his healthy and beautiful heart. One day, standing in the middle of the town, he proclaimed that he had the most beautiful heart in the whole valley. A large crowd gathered to have a look at his heart. His heart was smooth and shiny and looked very healthy. Indeed, the man had the most beautiful heart in the valley, everyone agreed.
The proud young man felt delighted and boasted his perfect heart, which everyone admired. Then, suddenly, a voice from the crowd said, “ Your heart is not as beautiful as mine.” The young man searched for the person behind the voice, and an older man appeared in front of him.
“ Show us your heart if you believe you have a more beautiful heart than mine.” said the young man. The older man carefully showed his heart. The crowd and the young man looked at the older man’s heart. The heart was beating strongly and healthily, but it was not smooth and shiny as the young man’s heart. Instead, it had scars all over it. It had places where some pieces of the heart had been removed, and other parts were put in. The other pieces didn’t fit perfectly, with several uneven edges. In some places, there were deep gouges where some pieces were missing.
The crowd laughed at the older man’s heart. “How can he claim that he has the most beautiful heart when it is all scared and uneven.” they thought.
The young man looked at the old man’s heart and laughed.” You must be kidding. Compare your heart and mine. My heart looks perfect and smooth, and yours is a mess of scars and tears.”
“Yes, Your heart looks perfect, but I would never trade your heart with mine”, said the old man. “ Every scar in my heart represents a person I have given my love to. I tear a piece of my heart and give it to them. Often, my loved one gives me back a piece of their heart that fits into the empty place in my heart. Since everyone loves each other differently, their piece of the heart may not perfectly fit my heart, so you can see some rough edges. These scars and rough edges remind me of the love we shared.”, he continued.
“Sometimes I would give a piece of my heart, but the other person may not return a piece of his heart to me. These are the empty gouges. But, although these gouges are painful, they remind me of my love for these people too. So do you now see what true beauty is?” asked the old man.
The young man and the crowd stood silently with tears running down their cheeks. Then, the young man walked to the older man, reached into his perfect young and beautiful heart, ripped a piece out of it and offered it to the man with trembling hands.
The older man gratefully received his offering, placed it in his heart, then took a piece from his old heart and placed it in the young man’s heart.
The young man looked at his heart; it did not look shiny and smooth like it used to. But, it was now more beautiful because he could feel the love from the older man’s heart flowing into him.
They embraced and walked away side by side.