17 May 2006

Keep Your Fork

I have read this story several times, and it has always touched me. I remember when I was a kid spending Thanksgiving with my dad's siblings and parents, my dad would look forward to the pies...and there were always lots of homemade pies. I remember watching my paternal grandmother and my aunt Dorothy making crust from scratch, and making the fillings from scratch. The pies were definitely worth waiting for. Now, my maternal grandfather, my paternal step-great-grandmother, my paternal great-grandfather, my paternal step-grandfather, my paternal grandmother, my paternal half-aunt Nellie, and my paternal uncle Bill have all passed over. Even though they were different religions, I am sure they are all in a good place with a fork in their hand eating homemade pie.

Here is the story I received via email from a friend:

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 I 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, 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 coming .
like 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 hand.

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

Cherish the time you have, and the memories you share.

Being friends with someone is not an opportunity but a sweet

And keep your fork

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