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

        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 their fork."


        Cherish the time you have and the memories you

        share....being friends with someone is not an opportunity

        but a sweet responsibility.

Author Unknown  - Shared by Dr. Gloria Jo Floyd

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