THE ROOM (An essay by a friend)In that place between wakefulness & dreams, I found myself in a room. There weren't any features except for one wall covered with index card files. These files, which stretched from floor to ceiling, seemed endless in either direction. As I drew near, one title caught my attention. "Boys I liked" I opened it, read, and quickly shut it, shocked that I recognized each name. Without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its files was a crude catalog system of my life. Written were the actions of every moment of my life, in detail my memory couldn't match. A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred in me as I began to randomly open files and explore their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories, others shame and regret so intense I looked over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching. A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I betrayed" The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. "Books I Read," "Lies I Told," "Comfort I gave" "Jokes I Laughed at"Some were almost hilarious in their exactness "Things I yelled at my siblings" Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I did in anger" "Things I Muttered Under My Breath at my parents" I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped. I was overwhelmed by the volume of life I had lived...Stranger still, each card was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature. When I pulled out "TV shows I watched" I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tight and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not by the quality of the shows but by the vast waste of time they represented. When I came to the file "Lustful thoughts" I felt a chill run through me. I only pulled it out an inch, not wanting to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think such a moment had been recorded. Rage broke on me. No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy it! In insane frenzy, I yanked the file out and emptied it to burn it. But as I shook it out, not a single card fell. Desperate, I pulled out a card, only to find it was strong as steel when I tried to tear it. Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file. Leaning against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. Then I saw it. The title "People I shared the Gospel With." The handle was brighter than the others, newer, almost unused. I opened it and a small box, no more than 3 inches long, fell into my hands. I could count the cards on one hand. The tears came. I wept sobs so deep they hurt. They started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell to my knees and 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 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 files. Why did he have to read every one? Finally, He turned and looked at me across the room, pity in His eyes. 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 anything, but He didn't. He just cried with me. Then he got up and walked back to the files. Starting at one in end, 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 say was, "no, no" as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn't be there. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, and so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine, written in his blood. He gently took the card back and smiled a sad smile as he began to sign cards. I don't know how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed He closed the last file and walked back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished." I stood up and He led my out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.