Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Room

Have you ever read a book or listened to a song, or heard a speech or sermon and said, "Man, that's exactly right, I've always known that, I've always thought that but I've never been able to put it into words." My wife forwarded an e-mail to me today. I have no idea where she got it, but it was one of those "Right On" type of things. I do the same thing most people do with forwarded e-mails. If it's not something with funny pictures or from someone who wants me to see a specific thing I delete it. Everyone does. I think it's one of the main reasons the delete key was invented. You did it with paper junk mail before computers, and you do it with electronic mail now. This one, however, was different. This entry says a lot of things I've tried to say or wanted to say but wasn't smart enough to put the words together correctly. So far my blog has been viewed over 7000 times. This is much more than I had thought it would be. The majority of it has been my experiences from the war and I've had a great time writing it. This entry is the one I hope people read if they only read one entry. It sums everything up in one short, powerful, concise story without all the extra fluff. I'll just let it speak for itself.

17-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.
Brian's Essay: The Room...

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself
in the room. There were no distinguishing features except 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 "Girls 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
years to fill 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 "TV Shows I have watched",
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 shows but more by the vast 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 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 they hurt. They 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.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."-Phil.
4:13 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, what an amazing vision. It really made me evaluate my life and everything I think and do, but no matter how perfect in God's eyes I try to be, it will never be enough. Thank you God for your awesome mercy and grace, thank you for loving me so much and displaying that love for me by dying for my sins on the cross.
I am forgiven!

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was awesome. Thank you for sharing it. VJC

11:21 PM  

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