Paula initiated a one-woman campaign against roundabouts. She failed dismally.
Around the state, she learned, small communities considered them arty and practical. Town councils – even her own – voted traffic signals out as completely obsolete. Even kindergarten teachers didn’t use the signal’s red, green, and yellow to teach colors anymore. Now the streets spouted landscaped gardens thriving in the circular median. Tree huggers everywhere celebrated the greening of the asphalt.
Not Paula. With a roundabout, Paula needed four tries to find the correct outlet. But to their credit, everyone on the four corners was friendly.
The first try, Paula ended up at the high school.
The school secretary greeted her, “Welcome to Pine Valley High School. Are you enrolling a student today or would you rather help with the Open House this evening?”
“No, I’m lost in the Black Hole Roundabout and just trying to get to – Highway 260. Thanks to that roundabout, I’m way off course. It’s worse than a black hole in space! ”
The school secretary clicked her tongue in sympathy. After the Grand Opening of the roundabout, she confided, they completely lost track of six punctual teachers and hadn’t seen them since. Classes started without them. Other staff members, unable to figure out the maze, had parked across the street and walked to school. The crossing guard doubled as a trail guide through the roundabout.
When Paula tried the roundabout on a second try, she was headed for the mini mall and ended up at the Humane Society.
“We’re having a special on cats,” smiled a young woman cuddling a kitten. How about adopting one?”
Paula never made it to Highway 260. Coming home from a simple trek, she held a kitten, cat carrier, food, and a pledge to bake four dozen cookies for Open House. Paula blamed it on the roundabout.
The next week, she took her complaint to the town hall and picked up a petition to bring back traffic lights. “It’s the American way!” she argued with the council member manning the counter.
“No, I voted for this. Roundabouts are the latest in traffic engineering! They save lives, money, and provide a great garden area for anyone who is hopelessly lost! It’s a giant step forward for the environment!”
Next, Paula approached Denise and her husband Robert for a signature. “Sorry, I can’t,” Denise explained. I’m President of the Garden Club. We get to design and plant the beautiful roundabout in front of the turnoff for Sonic. With an arbor and bench, the garden will be a great place to meditate and find serenity while contemplating how to cross the street. But most people aren’t having any trouble with the roundabouts. You are?”
Paula pondered, “A path to serenity? It’s nearly impossible with a roundabout.” She’s right about our needing a quiet place to think. But what about another path and another trail guide?
All of our lives, we choose paths leading to adventure, opportunity, and relationships. Garden Club President Denise is right that we also need to find a path to serenity. But finding true calm against the storm isn’t generated in navigating roundabouts–no matter how beautifully they are landscaped. Serenity is not built into a 60-minute lunch hour, time at the gym, a relaxing massage or even a vacation.
In the search for serenity, try trail guide God. Old Testament King David shares these views: “He [God] lets me rest in fields of green grass and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water. He gives me new strength. He guides me in the right paths, as he has promised.” [Psalm 23:2-3 Good News Bible].
Choosing paths and trails can be difficult all by yourself. With God, who knows the entire trail to the end, it’s easier.
He’ll even help you find your way through the roundabouts. You’ll never be lost again.
[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]