Pic.: Neerja Panchal

At 7.45, last morning, I saw Mr. Dighe* after almost two months. “Good morning sir,” I greeted him, spontaneously, “where is the little-man?”

The little-man was Mr. Dighe’s two-year-old grand-son. Every morning, as I would come to open my office, it used to be a happy sight to see the grandpa returning after the daily morning-round with the little-one. I would invariably spend a couple of minutes chit-chatting with them. Mr. Dighe, a retired government employee, is one of the very warm and positive souls I have known in my life. Clean-hearted people leave you charged for the day… Mr. Dighe would do exactly the same for me…

So, when I met Mr. Dighe alone and asked him, spontaneously, about the little-fellow, I realized that I hadn’t seen them for a long time! Mr. Dighe spent the next ten minutes to tell me the reason: His wife, an equally affectionate retired lady, had been diagnosed with cancer of the kidney…, and, the rest of the conversation is not required here to be mentioned.

Life takes a nasty turn… making life, totally, unpredictable… Nice people they are… So warm and positive… So pious and simple in life… All that has been there in their minds, perhaps, is: to spend the last years of their lives with quiet dignity and joy… And, when Life throws before you these kinds of challenges, when you do not posses in your heart enough strength of bear, you wonder: “Why me?” Or, “Where is God?”

No sir, I did not hear such things from Mr. Dighe, last morning. And, that’s why I have chosen to write about him. In fact, it was the other way around: I had some issues eating up my peace, that early morning, when I met him. But, his silent acceptance, dignity and courage left me a lot humbled and recharged.

 If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.”  I remembered what Regina Brett had written in her 45-Life-lessons (which she, eventually, updated into 50 Life-lessons and published as a full-fledged book by the title ‘GOD NEVER BLINKS’.)

True, we need to see others’ problems to realize how ‘minor’ ours are… I think, it gives us perspective… enough wisdom and strength to deal with our own. I really meant when I held Mr. Dighe’s hands and said, “Sir, I will pray for madam’s recovery.”

After coming into my office, I went back, once more, to Regina Brett’s list of 50 Life-lessons. This woman was a writer, columnist… had gone through her own nasty twists- and-turns in life, which included Breast cancer. So, though she had first written, as a news-paper column, her 45 Life-lessons (which came to be republished many times over on popular demand), she decided to add 5 more lessons and publish it when she turned 50. Soon, each of these lessons was expanded into a full chapter and the book was born: ‘GOD NEVER BLINKS’.

And yes, as it always happens when we revisit something with a yearning heart, it left me completely refreshed, recharged and hopeful. Peaceful.

This early morning, as I came to open my office, I did not see Mr. Dighe. A prayer came spontaneously in my heart. I heard my heart telling me, “Share his story… Share Mrs. Brett’s Life-lessons…”

I heeded…

* The name changed



By Regina Brett, The Plain Dealer/May 28, 2006

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I've ever written. My odometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here's an update:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?"

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

36. Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

42. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

48. If you don't ask, you don't get.

49. Yield.

50. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift..


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Current and archived columns can be found at www.cleveland.com/brett.


Minal Mehta said…
Speechless!!!! Minal
Revati Shinde said…
Amazing lessons and amazing post, thanks a ton!
-- Revati Shinde
Navin Deshmukh said…
Inspiring as always, Keep giving the dose every day. Navin
Prashant Lobo said…
Good post, motivating - Prashant Lobo
Shalini Vyas said…
Had read these lessons, thanks for bringing them back to me.
> Shalini Vyas

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