Ah, the gentle pitter-patter of rain upon the roof of a mobile home! The sound can be so soothing that it lulls you to sleep. Who needs an expensive ambient sound machine? This is nature’s own. Just lie back, secure in your comfy nest of bed and blankets and let Mother Nature sing her watery lullaby.

You haven’t a care in the world. You’re cuddling Lethe. All is well.

Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Huh? What’s that? Is it time to get up already? No. It’s still dark, very dark, and that shrill beep! Beep! Beep! is still beeping even after you’ve hit the alarm clock with perhaps more force than necessary. You try turning to another position. You pull the covers up over your ears. You put a pillow over your head. But you can still hear it, like a malignant heartbeat, like the telltale heart in that Edgar Allen Poe story. Beep! Beep! Beep!

You can’t ignore it. You couldn’t if you wanted to but now you don’t even want to ignore it. You want to get to the bottom of it, find out what it is, PUT A STOP TO IT!

You get up, grab your trusty flashlight, and follow the noise to the little box just inside the front door. The alarm system. The alarm system that you knew was there – it was there when you moved in – but you didn’t know it was functional. You’ve lived in this tin can for two years and you haven’t heard a beep from it – until now. And you don’t know the code to shut it off.

Ah, well, necessity is the mother of invention – and sometimes of destruction. A few wires pulled out (not as surgical as in a Hollywood bomb defusing scene but effective nonetheless) and you’re tottering back to bed, surrendering yourself up, once again, to the tender mercies and gentle raindrops of Mama Nature.

You’ve almost reached REM when BOOM! Who ordered the tympani? One peal of thunder almost shakes you from you bed. It is going to be a long night.

Life is a lot like that at times. Everything is going along smoothly, everything is going your way, and you are lulled into a sense of well-being then suddenly BEEP! Or BOOM!

It may be a man-made problem that disrupts your peaceful life – it could even be a problem of your own making – a sudden health scare, an economic downturn that seems, in its abrupt devastation, to be an expression of divine wrath, or it could be a passing storm, or a natural disaster. Whatever it is, it has destroyed the peace of your existence.

Whatever it is, it has to be dealt with – and it is not always as easy as pulling out some wires. Or, if it cannot be dealt with, it just has to be lived through.

That’s life. We weren’t given any guarantees when we signed on for this gig. We weren’t promised any rose gardens, let alone roses without thorns. Over the centuries, we have tried to placate the elements or the gods or the powers that be – we’ve tried to get them on our side, thereby assuring us of continued health and happiness. That is what the more primitive forms of religion are all about.

But that approach has its limitations. We live in constant fear, blindly trying to do whatever needs to be done to keep “them” happy. It puts us in thrall to whoever or whatever seems to have power over us, it takes away our sense of responsibility (“God wills it, it must be done” or the old canard, “The devil made me do it.”), and it takes away our freedom.

That approach would be akin to staying awake all night for fear that, if we let ourselves doze off, our sleep will be disturbed. We’re not getting any sleep anyway. We know no peace. We have no freedom.

And yet, many of us live that way. We live in fear of what might happen. Or, having lived through some trauma or disruption in our lives, we live in fear that it or something like it will happen again.

That’s not life at its best; that is merely fear at its most pervasive, invasive, and destructive. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy – we fear that something is going to take away our happiness so we find ways to keep from being happy. It takes away our happiness while we aren’t looking, before we even get a chance to experience that happiness.

Whatever it is that is destroying or denying us our happiness, we have at least two choices and which we choose will depend upon the source of the disruption.

If the source is a trauma from the past, a limiting belief, or a deepset fear, it is like that alarm system that I knew was there but was able to ignore for so long. We have to get out our trusty metaphorical flashlight (which could be psychological counseling, a talk with a minister, priest, rabbi, or imam, a chat with a trusted friend or, if you are brave, some in-depth personal probing), follow the problem to its source and deal with it so that it won’t be able to disturb us again.

Some problems are transient, short-lived, and merely annoyances like that boom of thunder that disturbed my sleep. If that is the case, we can simply decide not to lose any sleep over it. We can choose to ignore it. We can realize what is happening, assure ourselves that it will go away, and get on with our lives.

After all, that’s life.

Author's Bio: 

I am a Baby Boomer who is reinventing herself and a newbie internet entrepreneur focusing on the self-help for the Baby Boomer generation. I spent sixteen years serving as pastor in United Methodist congregations all over Kansas. Those congregations were made up primarily of Baby Boomer or older members, so I developed some expertise with the Baby Boomer generation. I am now on leave of absence and living in Atchison, Ks. with my almost-thirty year old son and two cats. I also help my daughter, also living in Atchison, with three sons, ages 8, 6, and 16 mos, while their father is in Afghanistan. My blogs are found at http://www.for-boomers.com.