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My 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 & they all admired his heart, for it was > perfect.
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 & boasted more loudly about >
his beautiful heart. > >
Suddenly, an old man appeared at the front of the crowd & said >
"Why your heart is not nearly as beautiful as mine."
The crowd > & 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 & other pieces put in,
but they didn't fit quite right & > 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 & saw its state & > 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 > 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.
They embraced and walked away side by side.