In that place between wakefulness and dreams,
I found myself in the room. There were no
distinguishing features save for the 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 endless 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
"People 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.
And then without being told, I knew
exactly where I was.
This lifeless room with its small files was a crude
catalog 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 the one marked "Friends I Have Betrayed."
The titles ranged from the mundane to the
outright weird. "Books I Have Read,"
"Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I Have Given,"
"Jokes I Have Laughed At." Some were almost
hilarious in their exactness: "Things I Have
Yelled at My Brothers." 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 20 years to write each of
these thousands or even millions of cards? But
each card confirmed this truth. Each was written
in my own handwriting.
Each signed with my signature.
When I pulled out 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 two or three yards, I hadn't found
the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much
by the quality of music, but more by the
vast amount of time I knew that 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 an inch, not willing to test its size,
and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed
content. I felt sick to think that such a moment
had been recorded. An almost animal rage
broke on 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.
Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty it
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 utterly helpless, I returned the
file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the
wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. And then
I saw it. The title bore "People I Have Shared
the Gospel With." The handle was brighter than
those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled
on its 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
the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep
that the 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 file shelves swirled in my tear-filled
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 didn't
anger me. I dropped my head, covered my
face with my hands and began to cry again.
He walked over and put His arm 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 out a file 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, 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 close the last file and walk
back to my side. He placed His hand on my
shoulder and said, "It is finished." I stood up,
and He led me out of the room. There
was no lock on its door.
There were still cards to be written.