21 October 2008

Forward: 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 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 .
Cherish the time you have , and the memories you share . Being friends
with 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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