There is a parable from India that describes 6 blind men feeling different parts of an elephant, a strange creature that none of them knows about.
The first man has his hands on the animal's thick side and declares "This creature is a wall!"
The second man feels all along one of the sharp, smooth tusks and declares, "No, it's a spear!"
The third touches the elephant's squirming trunk and says, "No! It's a giant snake!"
The fourth is feeling one of the animals thick, sturdy legs and says, "Not at all, this is a tree!"
The fifth runs his hands over the elephant's wide ear and says, "Nope! This is a fan!"
The sixth holds the beast's rough tail and pronounces, "You're all wrong, this is clearly a rope!"
How much of our lives do we spend seeing only that which is right in front of us?
One of the greatest gifts I've ever received was from a friend who constantly reminded me to try and see the "big" picture. To find out and know all that I could before making an assumption. I don't always get it right, but the practice has saved me, more often than not, from reducing something as large and magnificent as an elephant to a rope or a fan!