Life’s roundabouts: Where’s your exit?

Chuck Tabor - Contributing columnist

One of the joys of driving in the community where we live here in Florida is that we do not have to deal with other drivers who do not know how to handle their vehicles in the midst of a snowstorm!

Now, as you might surmise, the main reason for that is that we do not have (m)any snowstorms here! But driving here does indeed have its challenges.

Here, in our planned and gated community, almost every intersection is controlled by means of a roundabout. For the uninitiated, a roundabout, sometimes called a “rotary” or a “traffic circle”, is a relatively simple traffic-control device where cars come to an intersection, but rather than a stop sign or traffic light, the traffic is moving in a circular, counter-clockwise direction (at least, in this country!).

Vehicles proceed around the circle until they reach their “exit”, where they peel off and head in the correct direction. These roundabouts can have almost any number of “exits”, although the custom is primarily four, as at a traditional intersection.

I remember the first time I ever experienced a roundabout was on our honeymoon, when we ventured into the great city of Boston, Massachusetts.

It was there that I truly understood why the common reference to New England driving was the “Kill or Be Killed” school of driving!

For someone who drives defensively rather than offensively, driving there was perilous, to say the least. I had to drive about six times around one roundabout before I finally figured out how to get where I wanted to go.

I know that when the roundabout was announced as a new addition to the traffic pattern on the north side of Hillsboro, it was also a rather confusing time for the southern Ohio drivers who were not accustomed to such devices.

A couple of the major advantages of roundabouts is that they require no power for traffic lights, and, most of the time, traffic does not have to stop, but can continue slowly around the circle. But for people from all around the world who come here to either vacation or live, these can be rather confusing traffic-control devices that take some getting used to.

In fact, because the residents of this community are indeed older, not too long ago, traffic was at a virtual standstill approaching one of these roundabouts because an elderly lady had been out driving, came to a roundabout, got confused and turned left into the oncoming traffic!

She knew she wanted to go left, so she just turned that way, rather than proceeding around the circle to the right until she reached her exit.

You know, whether it is a roundabout or a traditional intersection, every day of our lives we are all facing decisions about the direction our lives are to take. It may be something as mundane as a direction to go at a traffic intersection, but it could be as significant as a change of jobs or even retirement, the choice of a school to attend, a church to join, or a relationship to develop.

Whatever the choice we are facing, how do we decide in which direction we are to go?

Jesus was a change agent. A change agent is one who helps people get through those roundabouts in their lives. And he encouraged others to be change agents as well.

In his encounters with the Pharisees, those dreaded opponents of change, he oftentimes encouraged people who were risk-takers.

For example, one day he was teaching in the nice living room of a friend and the roof begins to cave in. Not from a storm or a tornado, mind you, but from four change agents who had decided to take things into their own hands – literally. (Check it out in Mark 2:1-11).

And Jesus commended them for their faith, healed their friend and confronted those “sticks-in-the-mud” who could not stand the thought of change.

Years ago when the western United States was being settled, roads were often just wagon tracks. These rough trails posed serious problems for those who journeyed on them.

On one of these winding paths was posted a sign which read: “Avoid this rut or you’ll be in it for the next 25 miles!” And someone once said that the only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

The challenge for you and me is to get out of the ruts of our lives and to allow Jesus to direct our paths when we come to roundabouts where decisions must be made – not just then, but especially then.

So, as you come to those crossroads in life, don’t make those decisions without considering the direction that God would have you to choose.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5,6).

God bless…

Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the Hillsboro Times-Gazette and the Wilmington News Journal. He is also the former Pastor of Faith Community Church in Hillsboro and Port William UMC.

Chuck Tabor

Contributing columnist