The Sin Of Omission

 The Sin Of Omission
by Margaret Sangster

It isn’t the thing you do, dear;
It’s the thing you leave undone,
Which gives you a bit of heartache
At the setting of the sun.
The tender word forgotten,
The letter you did not write,
The flower you might have sent, dear,
Are your haunting ghosts to-night.

The stone you might have lifted
Out of brother’s way,
The bit of heartsome counsel
You were hurried too much to say;
The loving touch of the hand, dear,
The gentle and winsome tone,
That you had no time nor thought for,
With troubles enough of your own.

The little acts of kindness,
So easily out of mind;
Those chances to be angels
Which every one may find
They come in night and silence
Each chill, reproachful wraith
When hope is faint and flagging
And a blight has dropped on faith.

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

I first read this poem as a little girl and it rang as true then as it did today. I think I often struggle with feeling that I should be doing so much more. It is a feeling that has haunted me for the majority of my life. And it isn’t just big things. Even little things like being a blessing to my children and to give encouragement the people around me. It is when I fail at those small tasks that I feel sad.

But, as Anne in Anne of Green Gables said, “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

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