"Of all sad words of tongue or pen
Why do you keep all the kind thoughts and kind words for a man until he is dead? They do him no good then. It is while he is living that he needs them. He has burdens heavy to be borne; troubles gather thick over his head; he is neglected and even misrepresented. You can help him with a smile or a few kind words; but, no, you pass him by. Now he is brought to the grave. As the cold clods fall upon his plain coffin, you say, "Well, he was a good man, after all." Why did you not tell him that when he was living? It would have buoyed up his spirit then; it would have made him feel that life was not all in vain and that yet he might do a little good. But now he hears not your words. They return to you or float out into empty space a mere sound. The ear that was once eager for them and the heart that was aching for them is now cold in death. Your kind, cheering words are too late to give him encouragement; your flowers are too late to be appreciated. Once they would have brightened his life, but now his life is over. Once you could have chased away some clouds that were darkening his life, but you did not, and that day has gone into eternity as a day of darkness. You might have brightened it. This morning some kind hand placed a vase of beautiful flowers upon my desk. As I write, their fragrance reaches me and brings me tidings of some one's kind remembrance.
It costs but little to speak kind words, but oh! ofttimes they are worth so much! I know of nothing that costs so little to give that is so valuable to receive. But why keep all the flowers, the kind words, the tender feelings and thoughts, and the sympathetic tears until the one to whom they should be given passes away, and then come and let them fall so gently upon the casket? Do you know of one who is weary? do you know of one who is being misrepresented? do you know of one who is being trodden down by others, with scarcely any one to speak a word of comfort? Now, what would Jesus do? Look at poor Lazarus -- turned away by the rich, neglected and rejected; watched over by angels ready to gather him to paradise when he passes beyond the need of aid from men. Why not be an angel and make a day of paradise for him here? Let us do some angel-work while here in life. The angels are ministering spirits. They whisper, "Be of good cheer," "Peace on earth." They come to gladden hearts; they come to close the lions' mouths; they come to open the prison doors and break the iron bands. Oh, let us do some angel-work!
Hast thou any flowers for me?
While in life's eventful day
Hast thou kind words to impart,
Kind words are but empty breath
Hast thou sunlit smiles to give,
Smiles, whate'er their power to save,
Prayer can stay the trembling knee:
When my soul transcends the air,
"If I should die tonight,