In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in a room. There were no distinguishing features in this room, just one wall covered with small index card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order, but these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endlessly in either direction had very different headings.
As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read “Boys I Have Liked”. I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one. Then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with it’s small files, was a crude catalogue system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn’t match. A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching.
A file named “Friends” was next to one marked “Friends That I Have Betrayed”. The titles ranged from the mundane to the out right weird. “Books I Have Read”; “Lies That I Have Told”; “Comfort I Have Given”; “Jokes That I Have Laughed At”; some were almost hilarious in their exactness: “Things I Have Yelled At My Sister”; others I couldn’t laugh at: “Things I Have Done In My Anger”; “Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath At My Parents”. I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped.
I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my 18 years to write each of these thousands, or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed it was true...each was written in my own handwriting, each signed with my signature. When I pulled the file marked “Songs I Have Listened To”, I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after 2 or 3 yards; I hadn’t found the end of the file. I shut it, ashamed, not so much by the quantity of the music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew that the file represented. When I came to a file marked “Lustful Thoughts”, I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only about an inch, not willing to test it’s size, and drew out a card. I shuttered at it’s detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded.
An animal rage broke loose inside me. One thought dominated my mind: “No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!” In an insane frenzy, I yanked the file out. It’s size did not matter now. I had to empty and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it. Defeated and helpless, I returned the file to it’s slot. Leaning my head against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh.
And then I saw it, the title “People I Have Shared The Gospel With.” The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on it’s handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand. And then tears came; I began to weep. Sobs so deep that hurt started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame - from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of the file shelves swirled in my eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key.
But then, as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn’t bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one? Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that did not anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arms around me. He could have said so many things, but He didn’t say a word. He just cried with me. Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took a file out and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.
“NO!” I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was “No”, as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn’t be on these cards! But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine; it was written with His blood. He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don’t think I’ll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him say, “It is finished.”
I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no need to lock the door. There are still cards to be written.
© by Brian Moore.
The story behind ‘The Room’.
Seventeen-year-old Brian Moore had only a short time to write something for a class. The subject was what Heaven was like. “I wowed ‘em”, he later told his father, Bruce. “It’s a killer, it’s the bomb. It’s the best thing I ever wrote.”
It also was the last.
Brian’s parents had forgotten about the essay when a cousin found it while cleaning out the teenager’s locker at Teary Valley High School.
Brian had been dead only hours, but his parents desperately wanted every piece of his life near them-notes from classmates and teachers, his homework. Only two months before, he had handwritten the essay about encountering Jesus in a file room full of cards detailing every moment of the teen’s life.
But it was only after Brian’s death that Beth and Bruce Moore realized that their son had described his view of heaven. It makes such an impact that people want to share it. You feel like you are there.” Mr. Moore said.
Brian Moore died May 27, 1997, the day after Memorial Day. He was driving home from a friend’s house when his car went off Bulen-Pierce Road in Pickaway County and struck a utility pole. He emerged from the wreck unharmed but stepped on a downed power line and was electrocuted.
The Moores framed a copy of Brian’s essay and hung it among the family portraits in the living room. “I think God used him to make a point. I think we were meant to find it and make something out of it”, Mrs. Moore said of the essay. She and her husband want to share their son’s vision of life after death. “I’m happy for Brian. I know he’s in heaven. I know I’ll see him.”
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