Keep Your 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 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 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.