A Handful of Silver Linings


When we set out to plan the January issue of The Georgetowner, we thought about making the theme “Outlook 2021.” After some careful discussion — and following last week’s siege on the Capitol — we soon realized that no one has a crystal ball for 2021. Based on our experience of 2020, however, the idea for a cover story on “silver linings” was born.

Silver linings are defined as “a sign of hope or a positive aspect in an otherwise negative situation.” In an attempt to shed some light on a dark year, here is a handful of silver linings that we and a number of Georgetown residents have identified.

SILVER LININGS TO BE GRATEFUL FOR

  • Working from home – see cover image
  • Family togetherness
  • Neighbors helping neighbors
  • More time for hobbies
  • Growing your own vegetables
  • Virtual programming
  • New babies
  • No-travel meetings
  • Catching up on reading
  • Crowd-free outdoor recreation
  • Fewer spam calls
  • Greener world with emissions and pollution down

Holy Trinity Church. Courtesy Holy Trinity Church.

HOLY TRINITY CHURCH

Father Kevin Gillespie, pastor of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown, has heard about many silver linings from his parishioners. Some were happy to spend more time with family, enabling them to pursue hobbies both individually and together.

“For example, some folks have spent more time outdoors biking and hiking. Others learned or improved their language skills in Italian, Spanish and Russian, read or reread books from their youth like ‘Moby Dick,’” Gillespie said. “They have also spent more time in social media on Zoom gatherings with family and friends, as well as watching movies via Netflix and Amazon Prime.”

Personally, Gillespie spent time in the rectory garden, where he enjoyed a summer and fall crop of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and squash.

Silver linings also became apparent for the parish as a whole. Gillespie was proud to report that Zoom became its new vehicle for praying and sharing. The parish has sponsored some 25 different types of Zoom gatherings since the pandemic began. In addition, a Time Capsule Committee was formed to document the year.

“They are enjoying collecting artifacts, pictures and newspapers to be buried and opened in 2044 for the 250th anniversary of our parish,” Gillespie said. “Our silver lining is most definitely the supportive people that have come together to make Holy Trinity Parish truly a family community.”

Tara Sakraida Parker. Georgetowner photo.

CITIZENS ASSOCIATION OF GEORGETOWN

The Citizens Association of Georgetown decided to lean into the old adage: “Home is where the heart is.” During lockdown, the group has taken advantage of the time to develop a virtual home, increasing CAG’s ability to connect with the community without requiring a physical presence.

“Now that we have perfected virtual programming, our frequent events are now available to a broader audience not constrained by a physical presence and venue,” said CAG President Tara Sakraida Parker. “Our new website provides the digital home necessary to reach our community in real time, serve and inform our membership and allow our membership to continue supporting our mission. Members feel confident and are assured continuity and connection.”

Looking to the new year, Parker hopes that CAG’s digital home will provide relevance and support membership services in innovative ways. Meanwhile, the association’s new physical location on the C&O Canal will “provide a permanent foothold ensuring the safekeeping of the CAG’s legacy and welcoming members once it is safe to do so,” she added.

FROM A READER

Georgetowner reader Rahab Al-Majed was pleased to send us a silver lining from the end of last year: “My silver lining was falling pregnant just a month after being told by my doctor that I would never be able to again (I have one beautiful daughter),” she wrote. “It was truly a joyful way to end what has been, for everyone around the world, a challenging year.”

SPAM CALLS ARE DOWN

During the ongoing pandemic, a new study showed that spam telephone calls have declined 58 percent nationally, with the District seeing a greater decrease than any state. The study, from allareacodes. com, “Coronavirus Causing Decline in Spam Calls,” analyzed a million consumer complaints to the Federal Trade Commission since the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic on March 8. D.C., ranked eighth, saw a 65-percent decrease in spam complaints to the FTC. The slowdown in spam calls likely correlates with the economic shutdown.

I myself even had my own silver lining last year. I got engaged on Oct.1 to my longtime boyfriend. It ended up being the year that we decided to finally take the plunge, so to speak. Working from home more often, we spent more time with each other, realizing just how much we really meant to each other.

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