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By Laurel Pattenden

We have all heard and used the expression “been down this road before”. 

It can be used literally if you have ever been lost in a new suburb, with all the curves and cul-de-sacs. Houses looking the same, yards looking the same only to add to our lostness. Circling about only to notice the children waving to you are the same ones who waved to you when you had been down their road five minutes ago.

Or perhaps, you are on a fitness trail with the winding, circular paths and noticing that you have passed the 2 km marker four times, and you are sweating, with your energy waning.

Embarrassing and tiring as these may be, don’t worry! This is not the meaning of “been down this road before” that will be looked into.

When I think of this expression, I always want to add a big, sighing “Yep!” before it. Yep, been down this road before! Heavy sigh. We normally use this in a metaphorical way. We know what will happen, and it is usually something we are not looking forward to. This is not the first time we have done this. Sometimes we think we will never learn or change our behaviour and down that road we go. Ad nauseam.  

Yet, I think that there are roads that we have been down, and it is a good thing! The road to fitness, to healthy ways, to sound financial reasoning and to other life-giving ways. Later on in November, we are invited to cross the threshold of the Advent road. This road can be full of ADVENTure. (Sorry, had to write that!)

Some years I travel it better than the others. How about you?

The lure of the Christmas tinsel road is so attractive and in many ways so much easier. However, the Christmas tinsel road usually leads me to overspending, overindulging and feeling sick, tired and empty like the empty box of chocolates ready to be discarded. Yep, we have all been down THAT road!  Remorse. A dead end!

Thank goodness there is the other road free to us to travel. The Advent road. Yep, we have all been down THIS road, too! Do we ever get tired of traveling the Advent road? (Poet Mary Oliver wrote: “How many roads did St. Augustine follow before he became St. Augustine?”) I think not for each time we travel we experience great joy. Plus, what a destination!

Certainly, it is a different kind of road from the typical holiday road and yet it can be travelled in a great variety of ways. The road is paved with our deepest yearnings. With our deepest thoughts. It is a road that is available to us to pry open and dig to the depth of our feelings. We do not step along the Christmas tinsel road with the same intention, nor does it give us the same opportunities to be so.

Yep, I have been down this road before, and I hope to travel it again and again and again. Step by step whispering “Come, Lord Jesus, Come”.

Praying “Come, Lord Jesus Come”. Singing “Come, Lord Jesus, Come”. Shouting “Come, Lord Jesus, Come”. Have you been down this road before? Are you in to travel it again? Good. That way when Jesus is born we will be able to whisper “We are here!”. Pray “We are here!”. Sing “We are here!”. Shout “We are here!”. Yep, let’s go down this road again.

Laurel is retired and likes to spend her time in her art studio.