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Keep the Fork

There was a young woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and
had been given three months to live. So as she was getting her things "in
order," she contacted her pastor and had him come to her house to discuss
certain aspects of her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted
sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit
she wanted to be buried in.

Everything was in order and the pastor was preparing to leave when the
young woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.

"There's one more thing," she said excitedly. "What's that?" came the
pastor's reply.

"This is very important," the young woman continued. "I want to be buried
with a fork in my right hand." the pastor stood looking at the young
woman, not knowing quite what to say. That surprises you, doesn't it?"
the young woman asked.

"Well, to be honest, I'm puzzled by the request," said the pastor.

The young woman explained. "My grandmother once told me this story, and
from there on out, I have always done so. I have also, always tried to
pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of
encouragement. 'In all my years of attending church socials and potluck
dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were
being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, 'Keep your
fork.' It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something
wonderful, and with substance!' So, I just want people to see me there in
that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder "What's with
the fork?". Then I want you to tell them: "Keep your fork ... the best is
yet to come." The pastor's eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged
the young woman good-bye.

He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her
death. ! But he also knew that the young woman had a better grasp of
heaven than he did. She had a better grasp of what heaven would be like
than many people twice her age, with twice as much experience and
knowledge. She KNEW that something better was coming.

At the funeral people were walking by the young woman's casket and they
saw the pretty dress she was wearing and the fork placed in her right

Over and over, the pastor heard the question "What's with the fork?" And
over and over he smiled.

During his message, the pastor told the people of the conversation he had
with the young woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the
fork and about what it symbolized to her.

The pastor told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork
and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about
it either.

He was right.

So the next time you reach down for your fork, let it remind you ever! so
gently, that the best is yet to come.

Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. They make you smile and encourage
you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they
always want to open their hearts to us.

Show your friends how much you care. Remember to always be there for
them, even when you need them more. For you never know when it may be
their time to "Keep your fork."

Cherish the time you have, and the memories you share... being friends
with someone is not an opportunity but a sweet responsibility.

And keep your fork.



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