I t looks like any other roundabout. When you enter, you assume it will take less than 30 seconds to swing round, locate your exit, and take off into the future. That’s what everyone thinks, and so do you — until you enter it. And once you do that, intentionally or not, you find it is a roundabout like none other at all.

A roundabout where entering holds no guarantees of a smooth exit. And once you are in, all entrances and exits disappear. Different cars keep coming, so you figure there must be exits somewhere. And you don’t understand how this is working, how can it be, because you are driving and so are they, only they are moving off in countless, endless, magical directions while you are stuck, on and on and on rounding the same bends, same trees, same scenery.

It gets dizzying after a while.

And boring.

And slowly but surely, it gets frightening, too.

Then the exits appear, winking like diamonds in the sunlight. And you see the first one as it edges its way into your peripheral vision, and your first instinct is to signal off, wherever this will lead you, wherever it will take you, because who knows how long you will be stuck here otherwise.

But as you slow to check the exit sign, you realize the name is unfamiliar… foreboding, even. At the back of your mind you register dimly that, if this was anytime but now, you would not in a million years get off the roundabout here. Here, where the path ahead is clouded in gloomy fog, where the sky is turning gray at the edges, puffed with a rim of thick, heavy clouds.

You have ten seconds to choose between today and forever, as you make the gut-wrenching decision to stay in the roundabout.

And so you’re racing round and round again, at top speed, with more than a hint of panic, because perhaps you have lost your only chance of escape.

The time goes by; you’re tired of driving, of searching, of waiting. You roll down the window, air trickles in. Too little, too late. At your side, a cute pink sports car. You brave a wave at the next set of traffic lights. She looks bored, too. There’s a flicker of hope. Perhaps even on this magic roundabout, traveling in endless circles, there can be connection?

Another circuit. Pink Sports Car is traveling fast. She must be on her second round, or maybe the third. Soon she will stop speeding, see that there’s no rushing things when it comes to your destiny. Just to prove it to yourself, you slack off the accelerator, lagging behind. You’ll be halfway round by the time she passes you next.

Only she doesn’t.

After circling the roundabout three times more, twice slowly and once at breakneck speed, you realize that she has exited, and you wonder at the ball of bitterness that clogs your throat.

After that, you keep the window closed.

Exits appear in the distance every so often. But you’re determined not to leave the roundabout for something too foreign, too unknown, too dangerous. You are too discerning to allow desperation to bring you to disaster. But along the way, you relax your standards, just a little. You decide to take things a little less seriously. To drop the grand plans of perfection. Paved roads, good signposts, and a clear sky are all you need. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 554)