The Roundabout

On the red-brick streets that grid the downtown area of my hometown, Lubbock, Texas, there is  one intersection that’s decorated with an odd circle of raised cement plopped right in the middle of it. When I was a a teenager, I found myself lost on numerous occasions running errands for my dad whose business is stationed in the heart of the downtown area. Every now and then I would come across this circle feature and, thanks to my driver’s ed classes, I would properly yield and then proceed to drive around the circle until I reached the road leading to my destination; that is, when I knew where my destination actually was. Then, years later when Britton and I  drove our college students from Texas to the distant lands of Utah, we experienced the Roundabout with regularity. Anytime we would come to the circle near Lakeside, we would exclaim, “Let’s go on the roundabout,” in a very proper sounding  British accent (This is only fair being that the inventor of this odd intersection was a English gentleman named Frank Blackmore, and he surely said the term that he invented in his native British accent as well). Now that I live in the city of roundabouts I have found that they are valuable for a number of reasons:

  1. When you can’t decide where you want to go, it gives you a few more circles to make the decision. After three times, the car-sickness will inevitably make the decision for you.
  2. Great excuse for a legal reason to do excessive donuts in the car.
  3. A perfect place to play a game of “corners” in the backseat of the car.
  4. Apparently, its real use is also to have a continual flow of traffic; the others are just bonuses.

Despite these definite positives, I have one major issue with the Roundabout. On more than one occasion, I have left the roundabout just west of the church with smoke pluming out of my ears because the people coming down one of the roads leading to the circle fail to yield to any other drivers. It’s like they think their road is better, so they should be able to continue through the circle without a single tap on their breaks despite other people having properly yielded in the other entrances. Okay, I’ll admit that when I come down that road, I tend to act the same way from time to time. It’s just so easy to cut in front of everyone else on the Roundabout.

I think our British friend, Mr. Blackmore, had a certain decency in his time that maybe over the years we have lost in our culture. Yielding is a courtesy isn’t it? When you yield, you momentarily pause from the direction you were heading and think about someone else. If you continue forward without the pause, you could possibly plow over another unassuming motorist. Somewhere along the way, from sea to shining sea we have etched this idea of entitlement into our minds where we fail to yield to anyone that comes our way. Our life has become about our own destinations, about what we think we deserve. But where has this sense of entitlement gotten us but buried in debt living in a crippled economy? Then, think about our churches. When we bring this idea into the body of Christ, we fail to be the church who is supposed to reach out to others.

1 Corinthians 11:17-22 is a revealing piece of scripture. Paul is rebuking the church for how they partake in the Lord’s Supper. The wealthy bring their food for the meal, and they scarf it down before the poor people have had even a nibble. Even the early church struggled with this sense of entitlement.

So what do we do now? Well, let’s yield. Yield to the God who created you, and yield to each other, considering others needs above our own. And, let’s also thank good ‘ole Frank Blackmore for testing our decency and giving us the chance to yield to others.

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