The Room

“The choices you make now, the people you surround yourself with today, they all have the potential to affect your life and who you are forever.”   Sarah Dessen

Seventeen-year-old Brian Moore had only a short time to write something for the Fellowship 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 the best thing I ever wrote.” It was also the last.

“THE ROOM” An Essay

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in a room. There were no distinguishing features save 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” and “Friends I have betrayed.”

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.

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.

(full essay –


This essay made me question my own life.  What files would be written about me?  How many regrets would I have written down or how many people did I love or betray? They say our whole life flashes before us as we leave this world.  What would I see?  Would I take more chances if I saw it today?  Would I love and laugh more?

Looking at our own files of life, let’s take note what we might see as we leave this world. What would we do differently? and what changes would we make today?

Brian wrote this essay two months before he 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.

33 thoughts on “The Room

  1. This is a phenomenal piece, and I say that as a mother and a teacher. I think of it in the context of…what mark am I leaving on the children in my life? Love this. Thanks for sharing. 💛

  2. Wow, David is right–lots to ponder here. I try to live mindfully, but also realize that I fall short more often than I’d like. Striking that balance between being in the moment and being mindful while at the same time avoiding excessive ‘navel gazing’ can be tough… 😌

  3. So sad Karen. I must say that the thought of every single little deed I’ve done being written down somewhere as a kind of record of my life, is not a particularly inviting one. I would hope that a graciousness would permeate our lives that would spare us that. Living is tough enough as it is. But then, who knows. 🙂

    1. I agree Don and I’m pretty sure it’s not written down anywhere. This essay reminded me to live impeccably and to live well, so in the end, I hope to have little regret and lots of gratefulness for the time I have had. Thankyou Don, I enjoy your thoughts.

  4. Sometimes when I see old friends I haven’t seen in a while, we talk about what was, and I am astounded by what I don’t remember. Some of the stories they tell that I don’t remember come drifting back slowly, like they were filed in one of those drawers. I think as we get older, we see more how we affect other people. In youth, I don’t think there is that awareness. Extraordinary that he had that.

    1. I agree Mary, I have the same experiences with friends. I think in another state of consciousness, we may remember all those files, like he did. We probably don’t need to remember all the files now, rather, just have an awareness of what we can do better today. Thankyou 🙂

  5. Karen,
    Wonderful and reflective post. Life is fleeting as most things in it. Once we truly realize this we may be more prudent in our thoughts, words and deeds.
    By the grace of God, we have it in our power to determine what is written on those cards. And in so doing, can increase the odds that our name will be written in The Book Of Life.

  6. This has a double meaning to me as I am in the middle of the process (with my siblings) of sorting out my mother’s things after her death. She lived a long life and she was a hoarder and has kept boxes and boxes of things. As she was also involved in many projects and those were kept in files and folders, we have also been sorting through those (just as in your photo). It is SO amazing how much we are unravelling about her past, and the people she connected with over the years. Those hard ‘files’ do contain a lot, just as do the figurative ones you mention in your post.

    1. You are definitely in a position where these files of life are being read Elizabeth. When we learn from the past and from those who have gone before us, we have a deeper awarenesss of life, and the opportunity to change old patterns. All the best Elizabeth, as you work through this process. 🙂

  7. Powerful post, Karen. I think we all have files that we would love to rewrite, but as in his full essay, we are forgiven before we even commit the crime, which is reassuring. Reassessing from time to time is a good idea so that we can endeavor to make our remaining ‘cards’ good ones. Thanks for this thought-provoking post!

    1. Well said Eliza. We only have this moment to make our remaining cards read well. I too believe we are forgiven, the gift for us is when we forgive ourselves. Thankyou for your thoughts.

    1. Carol I loved your post and your dream. I dream a lot and you are right, some need to be shared and some are for us to hold. You have a kind open heart and you have much wisdom and truth to share with others. “The choice can bring us peace and joy or pain and shame as we face our final life review.” This is so true. Thankyou for sharing this with me.

  8. A thoughtful thought-provoking post, Karen. In one form or another, I’m sure we will look back and review the life we’re living now. So this is the time to make changes…as needed.

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