File Room
Arthur Unknown

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 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 "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 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 mattered 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. "I can do all things through Christ
who strengthens me." Phil. 4:13

Go To Top of Page

Go Back

Go To Top of Page

Obituaries

Easter Celebration