The informant is retired but worked as a secretary for quite some time. She is of German descent and has a great deal of German folklore knowledge that she had learned from her relatives.
The informant shares a German proverb:
In German: Du siehst den Wald vor lauter Bäumen nicht.English Translation (literal): You don’t see the forest for all the trees
This is explained to mean that one does not see their life for the big picture, but rather the minutia, which can cause someone to lose sight of where they should be going or who they are as a whole entity.
The proverb was told to the informant when she was a young woman. She went to visit her grandmother in Austria. At this time the informant was caught up in some small social ordeal at school which bothered her doing her trip to Europe. This proverb was shared with her to give her perspective on the insignificance of this matter and how it is your life on a bigger scale that must be currently worried about.
Since this it of advice, the informant went on to use it as a means to keep perspective of her life outside the immediate. The informant notes that post WWII when many cities were destroyed, it seemed like all was lost. For many this proverb acted as a reminder of the long term growth that will take place to restore Europe.
This proverb is so simple yet a very apt metaphor for its meaning. It’s function as a reminder for the people to transcend their negative thoughts about post WWII is something to note because it is this sort of circumstance that gives the proverb such a strong purpose which enables it to be subject to great use amongst those effected by the war. Folklore is always passed down for some reason, most notably tradition, but here it is a tool for healing.