Picture your life on index cards...


[submitted by a visitor - spring 1997]
In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in a narrow, but endlessly long room. No furniture graced the strange room, but it distinguished itself by the one wall covered with small index card file drawers like the ones in libraries that list book titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these file drawers, which stretched from floor to ceiling and endlessly in either direction, had very different labels. The first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I Have Liked." I opened it and flipped through a few of the cards. I slammed it shut immediately, shock spreading like warmed butter, realizing that I recognized the names written on each one. The shock changed to dread in the pit of my stomach for I suddenly understood. This lifeless room with its small file drawers was a crude catalog system for my life. Here, written on tiny index cards, resides every action of every moment of my life; big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match.

A sense of wondering curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I opened file drawers, randomly exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I found myself looking over my shoulder to ensure my solitude. I noted mini-themes: the file drawer labeled "Friends" next to one marked "Friends I Betrayed." The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. "Books I Read," "Lies I Told," "Comfort IGave," "Jokes I Laughed At". Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Words I Yelled at My Brothers." Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I Did in Anger," "Things I Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents". The contents always surprised me. All too often the drawers contained many more cards than I expected. My saddness mounted because to many contained fewer than I hoped.

The sheer volume of the life I lived overwhelmed me. Could it be possible that I had the time in the years of my life to write each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth: each written in my own handwriting; each signed with my signature.

When I pulled out the file drawer marked "Songs I Chose to Hear," I realized the file drawers grew to contain their contents. Though packed tightly with cards, I couldn't find the end of the drawer. After two or three yards, I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew that file drawer represented.

When I came to a file drawer marked "Lustful Thoughts I Had", I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file drawer 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 drawer out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. I pounded it on the floor, but to my horror, I could not dislodge a single card. Desperate now, I 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 drawer to its slot. I slumped against the wall releasing a long, self-pitying sigh. And then I saw it. The label said: "People With Whom I Have Shared the Gospel." The bright, shiney handle seemed newer than those around it, almost as if unused. When I pulled on its handle, a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand. The tears welled in my eyes and weeped over the edges. 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; the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file drawers swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key.

As I smeared the tears from my eyes, I saw Him. No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched helplessly as He opened the file drawers 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 open the worst drawers. 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 wept anew. He walked over to me and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He wept with me.

Then walked back to the wall of file drawers. He opened a file drawer and, one by one, signed 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 glistened, like blood on gold, rich, dark, alive. The name of Jesus, written with His blood, covered my own name.

He took the card back from me; tenderly. He smiled lovingly and continued to sign the cards. I'll never really know or understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file drawer and walk back to my side. Taking me into His embrace, He said, "It is finished." He led me from the room closing the lockless door... there are still cards to be written.

-- Anonymous


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