Once upon a time, there lived a woman who worked as a guide at a tiny museum in the center of a tiny village.
The museum overflowed with paintings, wooden carvings, and treasures. Visitors came from all around to marvel at the beautiful items on display.
One day, a man with a white beard came to the museum carrying a package wrapped with brilliant red and white tissue paper.
“I want to give you this,” the man with the white beard said as he unwrapped the package. “It’s a carving of a heart made by a wise and loving man. He and I were friends. He gave the carving to me before he died as a reminder of his love. I’d like you to place it in the museum.”
The woman accepted the carving of the heart. As she held it in her hands, the handcrafted wooden lines shimmered in the light and glowed with rich beauty.
Her eyes filled with awe. “It’s a masterpiece. I’ll put it where all museum visitors can enjoy it. I will tell them the tale of the heart.”
The man with the white beard then left.
The woman placed the carving on a prominent wall at the entrance of the museum. Visitors gathered and marveled at its gentle lines and wonder-filled beauty.
One day, the woman noticed the heart was gone. When she couldn’t find it, she called the police, and asked villagers to help find the lost carving. But it couldn’t be found.
Exhausted, the woman sat, cupped her head in her hands, and wept.
The carving of the heart had become special to her. She’d told each visitor the tale of how the carving had been crafted with love by the wise old man who’d given it to his friend. And how the man with the white beard had freely given it to the museum for all to see.
Losing the heart changed the museum. The woman no longer smiled as she greeted guests. She no longer told the tale of the heart.
Several years later, the man with the white beard returned. The woman explained to him that the carving had been stolen.
The woman hung her head in shame. She felt as if she had failed the man with the white beard.
He drew her into his arms. Tears gushed from her eyes.
“My dear woman,” he said. “The carving was only a symbol of love. It was a reminder of a friendship that never dies. When he and I, and you, and all people were formed by the Creator, God handcrafted a special heart of love for each of us. He took flesh and blood and poured Divine love into our hearts so we could be filled with eternal love.”
The man with the white beard then invited the woman to place her hands on her chest over her heart. She closed her eyes.
“Can you feel the warmth of your heart?” he asked. “Your heart is sacred. All hearts are sacred. We can never lose the Creator’s love because that love is safely tucked deep within our beating hearts. God is the master carver. He created each of us out of his love. He invites us to receive that love, let it spill out into the world, and create more divine beauty.”
The woman paused, wiped her eyes, and gazed up at the man with the white beard. “But life’s troubles and pains have clouded my heart. I am scattered and lost. I’ve forgotten who I am. It’s as if life has stolen my heart. How do I remember the Creator’s love is still within me?”
“Every time you forget the divine beauty within you, place your hands on your heart. Feel the warmth of God’s love beating within you. Let that love saturate your whole body.” His eyes twinkled as he continued. “Each day, for a few moments, leave the world’s distractions, and be alone with the Creator. In the quiet, the Master Carver will remind you about the tale of your heart.”
The man with the white beard and the woman danced across the museum floor as the love that never dies swirled throughout the room with wisps of eternal comfort and bliss.
From that day forward, once again the woman shared the tale of the heart with museum visitors as she invited them to place their hands on their chests above their hearts. “Can you feel your sacred heart?” she asked. “This is the tale of your heart.”
—brian j plachta
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