One of the things I miss about winters in New England is the silence of the snow. Watching a curtain of falling flakes drift toward the ground in almost perfect silence is a visceral memory for me. The muffling nature of a blanket of snow feels very appropriate for the season—especially following on the chaotic busyness of the holidays.
We all need some muffling in our lives, at various times, in various ways. Whether it’s the barrage of information coming at us via electronic and social media or simply all the input we must wade through during the course of a workday, we live in a cacophony of sound—unless we are intentional about seeking silence.
But why seek silence? It’s such a basic, fundamental concept for me, yet I’m aware that we may not be doing a good job of teaching younger generations about the value of silence, of muffling the external and internal noise so that we might hear the “still small voices” in our lives: God, nature, our suffering neighbors and friends.
What would it mean for our world if each of us were to muffle our own chaos for some moments in order to hear the still, small voices of others? What might arise when God can speak, through the silence, to our deepest souls?
Imagine yourself in a comfortable chair, bundled up in a winter quilt or fleece blanket, perhaps with your fingers wrapped around a cup of hot chocolate, tea, or coffee. Imagine gazing through a picture window upon a meadow covered in still, silent snow. The scene is “empty”—but not really. The snow covers many things—but they are still there, buried beneath the snow. Let the snow blanket muffle all those things. Let your mind become still, empty, silent. Let your breathing slow. Let your eyes close. Let your heart be open, waiting. Don’t “expect” anything. Just let yourself let go. See what might happen.