Gratitude is a state of mind.
Sometimes it’s hard to shake off the sense of discord that permeates our national politics. As a national holiday, Thanksgiving naturally lends itself to musings of where we are as a nation — fractured and disgruntled.
Those who seek to be grateful best forget the impeachment inquiry, trade wars and policy proposals (or lack thereof) to combat climate change or rising health-care costs.
There are plenty of positive developments in our own backyard for which we can be thankful.
Unemployment in Mesa County is historically low (2.8 percent in October), which means most people are working. More importantly, the average annual wage in the Grand Valley is up 4.4 percent from this time last year. The Grand Junction Economic Partnership, which tracks the numbers from a variety of sources, reports our average annual wage is now $44,584, up from $41,000 in January.
We’ve long lamented how too-low wages factor into a multitude of challenges. Now we’re seeing what happens when a well-diversified economy performs at a high level. The economy is strong enough to withstand a trough in natural gas production that led Halliburton to lay off nearly its entire local workforce. We can be thankful that we’ve largely freed ourselves from being handcuffed to boom-or-bust economic cycles.
This economic surge isn’t some random occurrence. It’s the result of a deliberate effort involving a lot of different people — not just government officials. The work of the Outdoor Recreation Coalition, the Colorado West Land Trust, Citizens for District 51, GJEP, entrepreneur Aaron Young and many others comes to mind. In their own unique ways, they’ve all pitched in over the last several years to make the Grand Valley a great place to live, work and play. We can be thankful for the engaged citizens of this valley who make the betterment of the community their civic duty.
Colorado Mesa University continues to grow, both in facilities and enrollment. We can be thankful for access to higher education and an institution that does more than its fair share of exposing young people to our community’s quality of life.
We’re thankful for the nonprofits and the volunteers who provide the services and opportunities that government can’t. From tutoring at-risk students to delivering meals to shut-ins and consoling grieving families, they remind us what a caring community we live in.
We could go on and on. There’s no shortage of things locally for which we can be grateful. Most of us think in even more intimate terms: family, friends, a good job or being part of a supportive faith community. Amen.
Here at the Sentinel, we’re thankful for our readers and advertisers.
And Rachel Sauer. Her column makes us laugh at a time when wholesome laughter is in short supply. The world needs more laughter.