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In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in a room. There were not any distinguishing features except for the one wallcovered with small index card files. They were very much 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 and 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, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one.

And then without being told, I knew exactley where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for mylife. Here were written the actions of my every movement, 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 mudane 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 brother", others I couldn't laugh at: "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 time in my twenty 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 was 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 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 it 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 thehurt 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. Therows 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 see 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. Whydid 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 atone 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 while rushing towards Him. All I could find to say was "No, No" as I pulled the cards from Him. 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 tosign 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 walkback to my side. He placed his hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished". I stood up, and he lead me out of the room. There was no lock on the door. There are still cards to be written...




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