Episode 003: The Most Beautiful Heart
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 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 and boasted 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 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. In fact, in some places there were deep gouges where whole pieces
The people stared — how can he say his heart is more beautiful, they thought?
The young man looked at the old man’s heart and saw its 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, 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.
~ The End~
The Insights and Takeaways
This story first came up in my life about three years ago during my sophomore year in college. I got involved in this retreat called SEARCH that was organized by Villanova’s Campus Ministry (much love). The leaders shared this story and I remember taking the next break during the day to reflect on it.
Two messages stick out to me and they deal with our concepts of love and beauty.
I want to preface this with the fact that I am nowhere near an expert in love or beauty. I struggle with these topics just as much as everyone else if not more haha. This is just what I feel.
In today’s society, with technology bursting, and social media flourishing, our concept of beauty has become so morphed (especially for people under the label of millennials or generation Z). On Instagram and Facebook, people post and share the best sides of themselves. Which makes a lot of sense. It’s hard to be vulnerable when EVERYONE will have access to it. It’s much easier to post something extravagant or awesome AND we can get immediate validation! The young man, who was admired by all, wore what seemed to be a flawless, perfectly beautiful heart, but in reality, his heart lacked the most essential ingredient; love. Is the physical “perfect” heart of the young man what true beauty is? What other people perceive of us and their validation? I’ll leave that in the open for you to decide.
As for love, I focused in on the concept that love is not only a feeling, but also a decision.
Now I don’t know if you’ve watched the TV series, The Office, but after three years, I finally finished it this past weekend. There is this iconic duo; Jim and Pam. I won’t dive into the story to avoid spoilers, but basically I love them both. This story and their dynamic I think go hand in hand.
This story exemplifies that Love isn’t always easy. A lot of times, it makes you feel like absolute crap… leaving a literal hole in your chest…but that’s actually the beauty in it all.
Love is choosing to be open with someone even when you feel that you shouldn’t.
Love is choosing to be vulnerable when your mind is telling you to be afraid and be silent.
Love is choosing to dig into your own heart, take a piece of it out, and give it to someone else, knowing full-well that you may not get a piece in return.
Love is the conscious decision to take a risk, to make a sacrifice, and to persevere through the pain… all for what lies on the other side. The glorious and beautiful possibility for a new friend. A new companion. A new partner. A genuine connection.
I would like to leave you with a challenge. I want to challenge you to dig deeper into your heart. To treat your interactions and relationships with others as an opportunity for growth. To share in this concept we call love and to make someone else’s and your own hearts’ a little bit more beautiful =]