When I was a kid, one of my favorite things to do was to ride the merry-go-round.
The one at my school was all metal, as thick as a ship’s hull. I suspect it might have been recycled from an old Navy shipyard. It certainly still had some fight in it.
In the afternoon sun, that metal would absorb the heat so that after pushing it, you’d scald three layers of skin when you jumped on. That didn’t stop us, however.
No, we were unabated by any potential skin grafts. We lived in the moment.
So often was the merry-go-round frequented by my recess-loving colleagues that a circular trench no less than two feet below sea level had been formed around our beloved playground equipment.
There was no stopping our obsession with spinning. In unified force, the likes of which had never been displayed on any playground before or since, the whole class would push until a designated caller would cry out, “Now!” And like one man, we would lunge onto the center of the merry-go-round and the centripetal movement would surge us faster into a screaming frenzy.
Since lunch directly preceded our recess, it was not altogether uncommon for one of the rookies to lose his cookies. But such sacrifice was worth the thrill of spinning.
Every man knew the risks involved in this great endeavor. Lightweights could sometimes be seen flying off into the distant setting sun. It was even reported that one kindergartner was discovered years later in Madagascar, though I can neither confirm nor deny that report.
It is interesting, though, that as many times as I rode that merry-go-round, when I got off, I was always right back where I started. Despite all the effort, and notwithstanding the thrill of the moment, I had not progressed any farther from whence I had first begun.
I am told that is the nature of going in circles.
Sadly, it has been my experience that many people are living their lives just like that.
They spin around from one experience to another, from one relationship to another, from one purchase to another, hoping it will somehow take them further down the road to happiness, peace or contentment. But the ride always seems to leave them in about the same place, having to hop on again for another fleeting thrill.
Life was never meant to be lived going around in circles. Don’t get me wrong: It’s okay for kids on a playground, but at some point the grown-up you screams out, “Enough! There has got to be something more!”
The most respected teacher of all time, the one who was the Son of God, said He has come “that you might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can you find true joy and real life.
It’s time to stop going in circles. It’s time to step off the merry-go-round.
If you find yourself spinning, call out to Christ, who will save you, transform you and realign you to your true purpose. Additionally, let me encourage you to begin reading the Gospel of John, praying that God would open your eyes to the truth of
His word. Here’s to moving forward.
THE REV. KEVIN STEELE IS THE PASTOR OF NATIONAL HILLS BAPTIST CHURCH IN AUGUSTA.