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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 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, 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.  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... being friends
with someone is not an opportunity but a sweet responsibility.