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The Room

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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 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 Capital 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 the girl he was escorting wouldn't be

embarrassed about being taller than him. He adored his kid brother, Bruce,

now 14. He often escorted his grandmother, Evelyn Moore, who lives in

Columbus to church. "I always called him the Deep thinker," Evelyn Moore

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 grave site.  The Moores 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. "I just hurt

so bad now."

THE ROOM

by Brian Keith Moore

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 right to left as far as the eye could

see, had very different headings.  As I walked up to 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. 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 entire life. The actions of my

every moment, big and small, were written in a detail my memory couldn't

match.  A sense of wonder and curiosity, mixed 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 common, everyday things to the not-so-common-

"Books I Have Read", "Lies I. Have Told", "Comfort I Have Given", "Jokes I Have

Laughed At." Some were almost hilarious in their actness: "Things I Have

Yelled  At My  Brothers And Sisters." Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I

Have Done In 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 had hoped.  I

was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived.  Could it be

possible that I had  time in my 17 years to write each of these thousands

or millions of cards? But each card confirmed the truth. Each card was

written in my own handwriting.  Each card 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 the 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 such a moment

had been recorded. A feeling of humiliation and anger ran through my

body.

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 the file 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.

That was when I saw it. The file 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 3 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.  Then as I looked up through my tears,

I saw Him enter the room.  No, please, not Him. Not here. 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.  The few times I looked at His face I

saw such sadness that it tore at my heart. 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 in 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  the door.

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