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 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
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
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 overwheming
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
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.