Recently a friend of mine sent me an e-mail with a great story in it. It is so powerful that I want to pass it along to you. I have already used the story on several occasions and have found it to be very touching. I hope you will retell it as well.
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 business affairs 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 funeral service, what scriptures she would like to be read, and what outfit she wanted to be dressed in for her casket.
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?” replied the Pastor.
“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 am a little bit 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 dinners and social events, I always remember that when the dishes were being cleared from the table, someone would inevitably lean over and say, “Keep your fork.” It was my favorite part of the dinner because I knew that something better was coming…like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something delicious and wonderful was about to happen with a lot of 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 and said good-bye. He knew this could possibly be one of the last times he would see her before her passing away. But, he also knew that the young woman had a better grasp of the next life than he did. She also 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 fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the Pastor heard people say, “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. 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!
Family and friends are like rare jewels, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. Cherish the time you have with them on this earth and the memories you share. Being friends with someone is a sweet responsibility. That is why it is important to do all you can on a daily basis to let other people know what they mean to your life.
Isn’t that a great story? In the past years I have been to the funerals of some family members and very dear friends. I do not know how much longer I have on this earth, but I have already instructed my family to put a fork in my hand when I am in my casket. I suspect you are thinking the same thing for yourself! I trust that will be the case for you as well!
Tip: Keep your fork!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm