Monday, March 4, 2013

What Might Have Been

Many of the changes I've made in my life have to do with my attitude. I had to learn to have more peace and to let go of the anger. Pointing fingers, laying blame, and being angry do not make things better. It takes a level head to come up with a rational solution to a problem.

I had a lifelong love of reading, but for several years I had stopped reading, lost interest completely. I was stressed and couldn't settle down to enjoy a book. Now I'm reading again! Anything decent I can get my hands on (I am a little picky, but the point is I am always eagerly hunting the newest read lately). 

Yesterday I was looking at some of the very old books that I got from Grandmother, many of them having been handed down to her by her parents and a few from her grandmother. I wasn't wondering if they would be good reading material; after all, if they were worth keeping for the last hundred years, they are surely worth reading still. I was actually testing their sturdiness to see if they could withstand my reading them. 

I decided that many of them could not and should be handled very carefully, but I couldn't help carefully flipping through them before putting them away. I especially enjoyed seeing which selections made it into the 1916 booklet bound with string, "Worth While Poems Selected by Homer A. Rodeheaver". I enjoyed one selection so much and found it so appropriate that I took a snapshot with my cell phone to be able to flip back to it occasionally. 

And this is where I come back to attitude. This short poem is a great reminder. I'll share it with you. Tell me what you think....


It isn't the thing you do, dear,
It's the thing you leave undone-
That gives you a bit of a heartache
At the setting of the sun.
The tender word forgotten;
The letter you did not write;
The flower you did not send, dear,
Are your haunting ghosts at night. 

The stone you might have lifted
Out of a brother's way;
The bit of heartsome counsel
You were hurried too much to say;
The loving touch of the hand, dear,
And the gentle, winning tone
That you had no time or thought for,
With troubles enough of your own.

Those little acts of kindness,
So easily out of mind,
Those chances to be angels
Which we poor mortals find,
They come in night and silence,
Each sad, reproachful wraith,
When hope is faint and flagging
And a chill has fallen on faith.

For life is all too short, dear,
And sorrow is all too great
To suffer our slow compassion
That tarries until too late;
And it isn't the thing you do, dear, 
It's the thing you leave undone
That gives you a bit of a heartache,
At the setting of the sun.

I don't want to lie in bed at night, regretting the things I could have done or should have done or the harsh words that wounded when kind words might have healed. I don't want to wonder how my actions might have changed the world or even just one person. Let's remind ourselves often that the right attitude can make all the difference.


  1. Very nice poem. I recently read a great talk about living the kind of life where we don't feel regrets. While I know this, it's nice to get reminders. Because there are plenty of days I spend way too much time on the computer or running my buisness and not enough time with my kids!

  2. I love this! And, how often do we need to be reminded of this....

    I would love for you to link up your post to Motivation Monday. It's perfect!