Sometimes I try to get some perspective on what it all means. Life, that is. Most of the time I think there isn't a forest at all, just a lot of trees. Life is made up of moments, of opportunities, of setbacks and steps forward that are mostly small enough to get lost in the swirl of time.
Sometimes, the setbacks become tragedies, or the steps forward turn into triumphs. We remember the days those things happen as turning points, but it's still hard to see a big picture. If we define ourselves at all, it's by the high and low points along the journey, because if we give too much significance to any one of them, we're limiting our capacity to embrace the next step.
If a great victory becomes who we are, we can become too complacent to strive for the next one, or too arrogant to think we need to keep moving forward. If we dwell too much on the sorrowful moments and let them overwhelm us, they'll drag us down and prevent us from seeking the place where we can overcome the thistles and the thorns and find the blossoms and the fruit.
There are great things to be done in this world. American soldiers and many others are still, even today, giving their lives for causes great and small. Any of us could be the instrument of a shift toward a better world for everyone, but each of us has the potential to make a small part of that world better for someone. I hope that while we're looking at the big picture we don't miss any little moments along the way.