There was a young woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. As she was getting her affairs in order, she contacted her family and had them come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes.
She told them which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and the outfit in which she wished to be buried.
Everything was in order and her family 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 reply?
‘This is very important,’ the young woman continued. ‘I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.’
Her friends 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 one.
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!’
Their eyes welled up with tears of joy as they hugged the young woman good-bye. Everyone knew this would be one of the last times they would see her before her death. They sensed 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 question was heard, ‘What’s with the fork?’ And over and over, they smiled.
During his message, even 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 and family are very rare jewels 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.