just when the quicksand of obsessive trivial pursuits is getting the upper hand as usual, another wake-up call from the real world of actual people heroically dying young in the pursuit of truth and peace snaps me back to perspective.i didn’t have the privilege of knowing and working with anthony shadid, as my brother did, but he was well known and respected in our family. he was a true bridge builder in a world of war and hate. he willingly risked and gave his life to understand and reveal events in the middle east, on a very personal, human, street level, as well as their international significance. it’s sad that it sometimes takes a death of someone whose life mattered and meant something, albeit someone i only knew of indirectly, to remind me how small and inconsequential my petty anxieties and preoccupations really are. it’s so easy to get hung up in the tedious business of quiet desperation, and lose the big picture. if it takes the tragic, untimely death of an extraordinary human to remind me of what is important and possible, then what does that say about me? of course i will never be a courageous hero or achiever, but even shaking off the semi-comatose state of mundane existence would be an improvement. a start would be acknowledging that everything isn’t about me, or in how it relates to me, or how short i fall compared to someone else. that’s quicksand thinking. because of anthony shadid’s courage, there is a little less ignorance and small-mindedness in the world, and in the lives of those he impacted. he pursued peace and exposed the things that matter, that bring people together to rise above their differences. people at endless war, struggling just to survive, not even daring to hope for rights or freedom, will stop and remember him, and raise their sights and hopes a little higher. this is the kind of impact he had, because he wasn’t afraid to put his life on the line and shine light into darkness, eloquently and passionately. that is my humble tribute to anthony shadid.