Opportunity. That’s a word that in corporate-speak means you still have a ways to go. But then, who doesn’t? It’s a good use of the word because instead of focusing on what isn’t, it points in the direction of a goal.

It invokes that “glass is half full” vibe, but also leaves open the possibility that the glass could be filled completely.

That’s our focus for this Thanksgiving.

We know that the challenges of 2020 and 2021 have not disappeared and that new challenges surely wait around every bend.

Families and individuals experience loss every year, and the past two years have brought about more than usual. It’s that unusually high risk of loss that makes a pandemic so frightening. It has been tragic for many and frightening for so many more.

But here are a few things worthy of note, whether or not you will gather with loved ones this holiday.

1) You can gather with loved ones. No one is advising you to stay in seclusion if you’re vaccinated. That’s great news. You at least have the opportunity.

2) Access to the COVID-19 vaccine, which has been proven to work quite effectively, has been expanded to most of the U.S. population, including boosters for all adults. Even if the virus won’t go away, this is how we learn to live with it. It’s an opportunity most in America have agreed is worth pursuing.

3) The economy has taken some strange twists and turns through this ongoing pandemic, but there are jobs out there — a lot of them. That means this economy still has the opportunity to thrive. Opportunities to work mean we can improve our lives.

We are moving forward, even though COVID-19 is not in the rearview mirror. The fact that the pandemic is now raging faster than it did early on was to be expected. Anything that can multiply will grow exponentially larger and seemingly gain speed. That’s basic math. Our most reasonable hope was always to contain it long enough to find a way to live with it. We are there now.

Are there opportunities for improvement? Of course, and the best scientists in the world work on it every day.

Scientists made our current opportunities possible, so there is plenty of hope. Medical personnel help us either get through sickness or utilize the opportunity to stay well.

We dedicate this Thanksgiving to those scientists and medical professionals. They are the ones who are keeping our opportunities on the table this holiday.

We do still have a ways to go, but having options is reason enough to be thankful.

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