10 June 2005

Keep Your Fork

My across the street neighbor emailed this to me, and I would like to share it:

Keep Your Fork

A Woman & a Fork ...

There was a young woman who had been diagnosed w/a terminal illness & had been given 3 months to live. So as she was getting her things "in order," she contacted her Pastor & 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, & what outfit she wanted to be buried in.

Everything was in order, & 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 w/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, & from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love & those who are in need of encouragement. In all my years of attending socials & dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over & say 'Keep your fork.' It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming ... like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, & w/substance!' So, I just want people to see me there in that casket w/a fork in my hand & I want them to wonder 'What's w/the fork?' Then I want you to tell them 'K eep your fork the best is yet to come.'"

The Pastor's eyes welled up w/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, w/twice as much experience & knowledge. She KNEW that something better was coming.

At the funeral people were walking by the young woman's casket & they saw the cloak she was wearing & the fork placed in her right hand.

Over & over, the Pastor heard the question "What's w/the fork?"

And over & over he smiled.

During his message, the Pastor told the people of the conversation he had w/the young woman shortly before she died He also told them about the fork & about what it symbolized to her. He told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork & 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 & encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, & 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 their fork."

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

Send this to everyone you consider a FRIEND even if it means sending back to the person who sent it to you.

And keep your fork!!!

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