Photo Credit: Igor Menezes via Flickr
Photo Credit: Igor Menezes via Flickr

What kind of heart do you have? I am not talking about your physical heart but your “heart”…in other words, your soul. How do you feel towards other people? Do you love them? Are you filled with bitterness and pride? The following story is a great lesson how we all can create a 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 around him and admired his heart for it was perfect because there was not a mark or flaw in it. Yes…they all agreed it was truly the most beautiful heart that they have ever seen.

The young man was very proud and boasted louder and louder about his beautiful heart.

Suddenly, an old mad appeared at the front of the crowd and said to the young man, “I have some news for you; your heart is nearly as beautiful as mine.”

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

The people stared – how can he say his heart is more beautiful than the young man’s heart?

The young man looked at the old man’s heart, saw its state and laughed “you must be joking,” he said, “compare your heart with mine and you will see that mine is perfect and yours is a mess of scars, tears and holes.”

“Yes,” said the old man, yours is perfect looking but I would never trade my heart 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 and give it to me which fits into the empty place in my heart but because the pieces don’t fit exactly, I have some rough edges which I cherish…because they remind me of love that we shared.

These are the empty gouges…giving love is taking a chance. Although these gouges are painful, they stay open, reminding me of the love that I have for these people too, and I hope that someday they may return and fill the space I have waiting for them. 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 then took a piece from his own scarred heart and placed it in the wound of the young man’s heart. It fit, but not perfectly, as there were some jagged edges.

The young man looked at his heart. It wasn’t perfect anymore but it was more beautiful than ever, since the love from the old man’s heart flowed into his. They embraced and walked away side by side.

There is always a price that we pay when we do anonymous acts of kindness and share our love without any expectation of reward with other people. The joy is found is found in the act GIVING not RECEIVING…THAT is what makes a beautiful heart! So, what kind of heart do you want? A beautiful heart? A Perfect heart? A bitter heart? The choice is yours!