The Room

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. 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, Ohio and struck a utility pole. He emerged from the wreck unharmed but
stepped on a downed power line and was electrocuted.

Brian seemed to excel at everything he did. He was an honor student. He told
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.

Two 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 death.

"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 bad now."

Here now is Brian's essay for you to read:

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

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 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 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 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 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 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 life."

My "People I shared the gospel with" file just got bigger, how about yours?

 Author:  ~ Joshua Harris ~



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