Tuesday, July 14, 2015

THE ROOM.......

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 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 “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 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’ve 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 

 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 
of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No 
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.