No Matter What Others May Think


Brigid Doyle 


Disclaimer: No need to discuss characters, because no names are used here. Just a thought. Maybe whatever our beliefs or unbeliefs are we should be careful to respect the feelings and beliefs of others.

The young girl sat quietly before the fire. She watched as it crackled and popped sending glowing embers spiraling toward the sky. She breathed rapidly, trying to control the anger brewing within. She picked up a good size rock from the dirt and drew back to send it soaring. A strong hand caught her small fist. She turned and looked into concerned blue eyes. Her grip relaxed and the intended projectile fell back to the ground.

 "You shouldn't let them get to you." The woman advised.

 "Yeah, well they should mind their own business!" The girl protested.

 "Don't worry about what they think." The woman smiled. "It isn't important."

 "But…" the girl began. Before she could continue the woman dropped down next to her engulfing her in a strong embrace. Hopefully it would be enough to quell the young girl's brewing fury.

"Just let it go. You and I understand, that's all that matters." The woman continued.

 The girl sighed with exasperation and rested her head on the woman's shoulder. "I know," she replied softly.

 "Why don't you get some sleep now?" The woman suggested.

 The girl closed her eyes and she relaxed in the tender closeness and warm safety offered her. "Soon. First I have to do something."

 The woman placed a soft kiss atop the girl's head before releasing her. "Not too late, I don't want to have a grumpy traveling companion tomorrow. AND…" she pointed a stern finger in front the girl's nose, "I DON'T want an argument when it's time to get up!"

 The girl smiled and wiggled back into the comfortable embrace giving one last tight squeeze. "Promise." She simply stated.

 The woman turned away crossing the small area and dropping down onto a bed of soft furs and warm blankets. Before closing her eyes she watched as the girl unfurled a parchment.

 The girl thought for a few minutes remembering words her grandmother had said so long ago. Words forgotten until now, by a child too busy with her own vision to see what her ancestor wanted her to understand. She hoped the words she now wrote would honor the woman's memory. Her grandmother's voice spoke to her as her pen rushed forth with her words….


For hundreds of years man, in his infinite curiosity has been searching for a true meaning for the term 'love'. It has been defined in mortal terms as affection, strong liking, goodwill, and attachment to another. Yet there are as many definitions for this well-worn phrase as there are varieties of it. We've all heard of motherly love, brotherly love, passionate love, puppy love, forbidden love, and friendly love. All the same term? Certainly not. So how can there ever be one true meaning.

Love is as different and as widespread as the personalities of every mortal being, living and dead. There have been wars fought for love, lives lost for love, poems written for love and songs composed for love. But, if we look closely at this ideal we find one basic common element. Love seems to be that something we find in another that fills up a gap in ourselves. Something that fills a cold void with warm gentle safety, fulfilling some unseen need. A force so powerful, so strong it can change the course of our lives and at the same time so fragile it will burst like a soap bubble if held too tightly.

 This invisible entity rules almost every aspect of our lives. It reaches out and touches all of us. Unseen and unheard, it sweeps us into its grasp without warning. We are powerless in its clutches and outmatched by its will. We feel crushed beneath its strength yet, surely we would perish without it.

 Love is a hand to guide, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, a voice to advise and comfort. It can be a pat on the back when you've done a good job or an arm around you when you're down and out. It is a friend who is there in good or bad. It is 'I care', 'I understand', and 'I forgive you'.

 Love in all its beauty and joy also brings pain. It tells you when you are wrong, yet tries to set you right. Sometimes in its yearning for freedom love leaves us, yet always seems to come back. Even when it causes so much pain we no longer want to go on, we won't give it up…we won't let it go.

 Perhaps all of this is because all of us are the product of love. We have all grown from the seed of love and like a tree takes nourishment from the soil in which it is planted we take nourishment from the love that surrounds us. In the end, maybe the true meaning of love is…life.



The girl read her own words and wiped a stray tear from her cheek. She rolled the parchment closed and placed it in her leather bag next to all the others. She crossed the quiet campsite to the bedroll and snuggled under the blanket next to the woman. Her grandmother's words comforted her and the woman, her friend, had been right. It didn't matter what people said or thought. She knew she loved her friend and her friend loved her. She knew how and she knew why. If other people wanted to point fingers and carry on about it, that was their problem. She closed her eyes and drifted away into restful sleep knowing that tomorrow and the next day and all the days after that they would be together.

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