Procrastinating as usual, 17-year-old Brian
Moore had only a short time to
write something for the Fellowship of
Christian Athletes meeting. It was his
turn to lead the discussion so he sat down and
wrote. He showed the essay, titled
"The Room" to his mother, Beth, before he
headed out the door. "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 Teays
Valley High School. Brian had been
dead only hours, but his parents desperately
wanted every piece of his life
near them - the crepe paper that had adorned
his locker during his senior
football season, 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.
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, Ohio and struck a utility pole. He
emerged from the wreck unharmed but
stepped on a downed power line and was
Brian seemed to excel at
everything he did. He was an honor student. He
his parents he loved them "a hundred times a
day", Mrs. Moore said. He was a
star wide receiver for the Teays Valley
Football team, and had earned a
four-year scholarship to Capitol University in
Columbus because of his athletic and
academic abilities. He took it upon himself to
learn how to help a fellow
student who used a wheelchair at school.
During one homecoming ceremony, Brian
walked on his tiptoes so that the girl he was
escorting wouldn't be embarrassed
about being taller than he. He adored his kid
brother, Bruce, now 14. He often
escorted his grand-mother, Evelyn Moore, who
lives in Columbus, to Church. "I
always called him the "deep thinker", Evelyn
said of her eldest grandson.
years after his death, his family still
struggles to understand why Brian
was taken from them. They find comfort at the
cemetery where Brian is buried,
just a few blocks from their home. They visit
daily. A candle and dozens of
silk and real flowers keep vigil over the
gravesite. The Moore's 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
"I'm happy for Brian. I know he's in heaven. I
know I'll see him again
someday." Mrs. Moore said. "It just hurts so
Here now is Brian's essay for you to read:
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
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
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
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
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 time I knew that
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 it's 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
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 whom
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
My "People I shared the gospel with" file just
got bigger, how about yours?
Author: ~ Joshua Harris ~