Ready for dessert?
The Woman and a Fork
June was a young woman who was recently diagnosed with aggressive, terminal cancer and given about three months to live. While getting her things 'in order,' she contacted her priest who made a home visit to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. She told Fr. Dave which hymns she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she preferred, even what clothing she wanted to be buried in.
As he was about to leave, she suddenly remembered something very important. 'Dave, there's one more thing,' she said excitedly with a smile on her face.
'What's that, June?'
'Now, this is very important ... I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.'
David stood speechless looking at her, not knowing quite what to say.
'To be honest, June, that's a new one for me!' said Fr. Dave. 'I'm all ears!'
They both sat back down and June began explaining. 'My grandmother once told me this story, and in the last few days it keeps coming to me. She told me "Whether at big family gatherings or at church social dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, one of the old-timers would inevitably lean over and say, 'Keep your fork.' It was their way of saying that, although the meal was down home delicious, something even more delightful was coming next ... like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, made with love 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 when you make your remarks, I'd like you to tell them "Keep your fork, the best is yet to come."
Fr. Dave was so moved at this story of hope and faith that his eyes welled up with tears as he hugged Julie good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. He also realized that Julie had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She had a better grasp of what heaven than average people twice her age, with twice as much experience and knowledge. She KNEW that something better was coming.
Julie died shortly afterward. Mourners walked by Julie's casket and couldn't help noting her gentle smile and the fork grasped in her right hand. Over and over, the priest heard the question, 'What's with the fork?' And over and over he smiled.
True to his word, during his message, David told congregation about the conversation he had had with Julie and the story she recounted to him before she died. He recalled how he could not stop thinking about the fork and hoped that they would remember it as well.
So the next time you sit down with parishioners, family and/or friends and reach down for your fork let it remind you, ever so gently, that the best is yet to come ... for you and all those around you. God blesses us, every one!