One day, a girl was standing in the middle of the town proclaiming that she had the most beautiful heart in the whole valley. A large crowd gathered and they all admired her 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 girl was very proud and boasted more loudly about her beautiful heart.
Suddenly, an old woman appeared at the front of the crowd and said, "Why your heart is not nearly as beautiful as mine?" The crowd and the girl looked at the old woman'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 missing.
The people stared. How can she say her heart is more beautiful?? They thought. The girl looked at the old woman's heart and saw its state and laughed. "You must be kidding," she said. "Compare your heart with mine, mine is perfect and yours is a mess of scars and tears."
"Yes, my dear." said the old woman, "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 girl stood silently with tears running down her cheeks. She walked up to the old woman, reached into her perfect young and beautiful heart, and ripped a piece out. She offered it to the old woman with trembling hands.
The old woman took her offering, placed it in her heart and then took a piece from her old scarred heart and placed it in the wound in the girl's heart. It fit, but not perfectly, as there were some rough edges. The girl looked at her heart, not perfect anymore but more beautiful than ever, since love from the old woman's heart flowed into her. They embraced and walked away side by side.
~ The more hurt and pain you have gone through in life, the stronger and more beautiful your heart will be ~