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  • Scott Hatley

The Year of the Rat

by Scott Hatley

The year of the rat, 2020, has turned out to be one heck of a year. It’s been a year completely off the rails, or a dumpster fire, as it’s been affectionately referred to by many. And to be honest, just thinking of a rat doesn’t leave a good impression, making me question why I didn’t previously wonder at the start of the year what might be ahead. Between the pandemic, social unrest, political uncertainty, cataclysmic fires, apocalyptic skies and hazardous breathing conditions, it has been unlike any year we have experienced in modern times. With everything going on, it would be completely normal to feel a bit of fear and anxiety. Many questions may be starting to creep into thought. Will I get the coronavirus? Am I okay to leave my house? When can my kids go back to school? What will happen in November? What does the work world look like moving forward? Will we bounce back economically? These are just a few of the many questions we are all asking.

Fear can be paralyzing. I have plenty to fear on several fronts as I’m in a vulnerable population. Not only do I have a severe form of Muscular Dystrophy but I now have a tube hanging out of my neck due to a tracheostomy. This should be enough to keep me holed up inside all year and never come out. It’s the only way to stay safe, right? Wrong. That is no

life at all. You cannot live your life in fear. You need to find ways to get out and enjoy your one life on earth even during a pandemic. In my case, I am careful to be safe, I wear a mask in public, I limit my exposure to risk factors but I’m not going to live life in 2020 and beyond at home inside out of fear. You just can’t let the fear drive you.

So many with disabilities and barriers let fear drive them, letting society’s low expectations keep them from pursuing their dreams. Some will push through with education but then fall short of finding employment. Locked up potential – it’s a real thing. I know it’s easier said than done, and I struggle with it myself all the time, but it’s important not to give into fear. I’ve found conquering your fears is the only way to live, whether it’s through a pandemic or any other obstacle you face in life. Find your dream and go for it.

For me, I am so glad I don’t put my hope in earthly things. My faith in the unseen gives me the hope to not be pulled down by the fear and uncertainty life throws our way.

I believe my life has a purpose, so taking the year off from fulfilling it out of fear of a pandemic is not something I can afford. I don’t have the time as I am not sure how long God plans to keep me on this planet.

It can be easy to miss the opportunities and beautiful things in our lives that are right in front of us. There are times it is not easy to take notice of such things – especially when faced with crises we feel we cannot control. We may experience feelings of exasperation over current events, including the pandemic, the raging fires ravaging the state and

the unfolding political season. Why wouldn’t we lose hope?!

How can we find “light” in the midst of the “darkness”? For me, it’s choosing to see the hope. I encourage you to make the choice to see the opportunities ahead and in your life. As we move into the last quarter of the year, let us remember we will get through this terrible year of the rat. This too shall pass as is often said. No matter what’s still ahead for us in 2020, I believe we will emerge stronger, especially if we don’t let fear drive us.

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