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Picture this: A war-torn area. Devastation. A few houses scattered about – some inhabited, others very clearly empty of all human traces save for a shoe, some well-used pots and pans, a plate, evidence of a very simple cooking device: two hotplates long abandoned.

An elderly couple have not left their home because they are too afraid to do so. He worries that if he leaves to go into town, he may be shot, or harmed in some way, or he may not be able to return to his home where his wife waits for him to return. So he stays. They stay. They grow vegetables in their yard and they get eggs from their chickens. All their neighbours have either been killed, have left hurriedly taking only what they could, or they too stay, hidden away where they cannot be found – surviving.

The elderly couple, smiling the smile of survivors. Faithfully trusting in instinct and each other. The reporter says to the man, how much does this woman mean to you. The man looks at the woman and smiles, smiling the smile of love and devotion. The woman, her beautiful wrinkles surrounding her twinkling eyes, twinkling eyes which have known love and devotion in equal measures.

He says, his voice cracking and eyes moistened by tears: “We have been together for 51 years. How can I explain in words how much she means to me?” She squeezes his hand.

Amongst the devastation of war, there is hope. There is a valuable lesson here for those who wish to learn it.

~ MEW

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