A World of Si­lence

Wel­come the new year

Activated - - FRONT PAGE - Koos Stenger is a free­lance writer in the Nether­lands. By Koos Stenger

WHEN I OPEN THE FRONT DOOR, I am over­whelmed by the si­lence out­side. How ab­so­lutely quiet the world has be­come! Usu­ally there is at least some noise and move­ment at this hour. But not to­day. To­day ev­ery­thing is still.

A few snowflakes fall out of a gray, over­cast sky, adding to the sense of mystery. I zip up my coat and step into this gen­tle world of si­lence.

It’s the very first morn­ing of the new year. Silent and wide and full of hope and ex­pec­ta­tion. The cel­e­bra­tions lasted till early morn­ing, but now it seems as if I’m the only one awake.

The changeover was any­thing but peace­ful. It was loud, even deaf­en­ingly so at times. But now, as the early morn­ing light pierces through the dark­ness, ev­ery­thing is still.

I like to think it was silent as well when God was half­way through cre­at­ing the world. Imag­ine how quiet it must have been right be­fore He pop­u­lated it with an­i­mals and birds and fi­nally with the first hu­mans. There might have only been the soft sound of a gen­tle breeze through the leaves and maybe the rip­pling of a brook.

I be­lieve it is eas­ier to con­nect with God in the si­lence. It’s al­most as if you could touch Him. You can hear Him whis­per words of love and wis­dom: “Don’t you worry. I’ll take care of you too.”

How won­der­ful to walk with Him through th­ese empty lanes!

Sud­denly a man comes around a cor­ner. Just like me, he is walk­ing with­out a par­tic­u­lar goal. He’s just en­joy­ing the view, just lis­ten­ing to the same si­lence.

When he passes, we smile at each other. “Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!” he

1 says while his eyes light up.

I nod and smile back, then he’s gone and I’m again alone with my thoughts, but now my heart is re­joic­ing. How beau­ti­ful the world is when it’s filled with still­ness and smiles, friend­ship, and gen­tle­ness! How beau­ti­ful when we can touch God in the still­ness and His Spirit breaks through the hard shell of our self-cen­tered hearts!

The world is wak­ing up. A car drives by and a TV in one of the houses I pass is blar­ing some­thing un­in­tel­li­gi­ble. The still­ness is bro­ken, but my heart is still full of the still­ness of God.

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