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 then on, I have always tried to heed and pass along its message to those I love and to 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 invariably say, "Keep your fork!" That was my favorite part because I knew something better was coming...such as velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie or something equally wonderful with substance! So, I want people to see me in my casket with a fork in my hand and ask, "What's with the fork?" Then I want you to say, "She is telling you to keep your fork..for 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 something better was coming. When the day came for her funeral and people walked by the young woman's casket, they saw the pretty dress she was wearing, and saw a fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the pastor heard the whispered question, "What's with the fork?"
Over and over he smiled. Then during his message, he told all the people about the conversation he'd had with the young woman shortly before she died, about the fork and what it symbolized to her. The pastor also told the congregation how, since then, he could not stop thinking about "the fork" and what it now meant to him. He also told them they probably would not stop thinking about it either. He was likely right.
So now, the next time you reach for your fork, be reminded ever so lovingly, that the best is yet to come!
Loved ones 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. Try to be there for them for you never know when it may be their time to "Keep their fork." Cherish the time you have and the memories you share....being loved by someone is not an opportunity, but a sweet responsibility.