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 am 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 of 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 then: "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.