I received this little story in my inbox yesterday and thought it was absolutely wonderful. It ties in a little bit with conversations I've had with others here before, about not being afraid of death. Many people are so afraid of death, and what comes afterward. I think a lot of that may have to do with conscience and whether a person is living their life with a clear conscience. Anyway here’s the story…
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 that time on 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 socials and 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 cloak 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. He 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 ...
And keep your fork.