“Keep Your Fork”

Categories: In the Bulletin

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if to live in the flesh,--if this shall bring fruit from my work, then what I shall choose I know not. But I am in a strait betwixt the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ; for it is very far better.     –    Philippians 1:21-23


There was a woman who had been diagnosed with an incurable disease and had been given only three months to live. So she started putting her things "in order".
She contacted her priest and summoned him to her house to discuss her funeral arrangements. She told him what songs and readings she wanted, and what clothing she wanted to be buried in. The woman also asked to be buried with her favorite Bible.

Everything was in order and the priest was preparing to leave when the woman remembered something very important for her.  “There is something else and this is very important,” she said. “What is it?” asked the priest. The woman continued, “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.”

The priest just looked at the woman, not knowing exactly what to say. “That surprises you, doesn’t it?” asked the woman. “Well, to be honest, I'm intrigued with the request,” said the priest.

The woman explained, “In all the years that I have attended social events and engagement dinners, I always remember that when the plates were removed after the main dish, someone would inevitably bend over and say, ‘Keep your fork’. It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was to come ... like chocolate cake or apple pie. Something wonderful and substantial!. So I want people to see me inside my coffin with a fork in my hand and I want them to ask themselves: ‘What about the fork?’ Then I want you to tell them, 'She kept her fork because the best is yet to come’."

The priest's eyes filled with tears of joy as he embraced the woman saying goodbye. He knew that this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death, but he also knew she had a better concept of Christian hope than he did. She knew that something better was coming. 

During the funeral, people passed by the woman's coffin and saw the beautiful dress she wore, her favorite Bible and the fork placed in her right hand. Again and again the priest heard the question: "What's going on with the fork?" And he just smiled.  

During his message, the priest told the people about the conversation he had with the woman a short time before she died. He also told them about the fork and what it meant to her, and how he could not stop thinking it, and also that they probably would not stop thinking about it either. He was right. 

So, the next time you hold a fork let it remind you that the best is yet to come ... 

- Jaime Restrepo