unlikely word

by Kristen

For weeks an unexpected word has crept into my thoughts, my writing and my speech. I’ve used it as a noun: a comfortable support. And I’ve used it as a verb: to soften the effect of an impact on. The word itself is unexceptional, but its sudden repetition is significant.

I keep coming back to cushion.

I need extra padding between calendar items, between spaces and places and people. I need cushions in my day.

My drive times are soft, quiet dividers creating space to leave one place—both physically and mentally—and prepare for the next place.

After a meeting, I often sneak in a walk to give myself time to breathe and reset (and enjoy a few moments of solitude, if not silence) before diving into the next item of business.

I pad my evening and weekend activities so I’m not bouncing from event to event. I need space to process all the inputs, the conversations, the togetherness.

The activity of life often overstimulates me. While that overstimulation might appear to be utter stillness on the outside, it is frenetic motion on the inside. I need supports to lean on in my schedule and in my relationships. I need a few more minutes to reflect before and after interactions. I need moments of soul rest—meaningful pauses—to carry me through the day.

And now the calendar places me firmly in this season of busyness, of constant expectations, of traditions and new opportunities, of to-do lists and deadlines, of noise and grief and celebration.

It’s hard to add more cushion to a crowded schedule. But for months I’ve been tucking throw pillows in the nooks and crannies of my days, and now it’s time to revoke their decorative status and put them to use.

Even as my body moves from one task or location to another, I imagine my soul sinking into a plush pillow for a moment of quiet. As I wash dishes or lay out clothes for the next day, I breathe a little deeper and picture myself leaning into the supportive structure routines give me.

It’s an unlikely word for this season, but with that little bit of extra cushion around my heart, I’m finding deeper peace, joy and hope.



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