*I heard a version of this story at my seminary chapel. I embellished it to make it my own, enjoy.
Do you need anything dear?
No I’m quite fine thank you.
Alright sweetie. Well the pastor is here to see you so I’ll send him in.
The pastor had come to see Margaret, one of the oldest members of his congregation.
You’re looking good today Mar.
Oh pastor you know how to make an old woman blush.
She was diagnosed last year. The doctors had given her 3 months. This was month 8.
Thank you for letting me stop by. I know your family will be here soon.
Oh pastor, you’re as much my family as they are.
This was it. Her numbers had dropped over the weekend and hadn’t recovered. Her battle was over. Her time to go home was fast approaching and he knew this would be their last conversation.
Your family has taken care of pretty much everything, but I wanted to know if there was anything else we could…I could do for you.
My daughter was always the planner, I hope she knows how proud of her I am.
Well pastor of course you know I want to buried with my Bible.
She reached her hand over to the table beside the bed. An old leathery brown Bible lay on top. It’s binding was wrinkled with years of use and about one hundred bookmarks protruded from its pages in every direction.
I’ll make sure of it Mar.
And another thing. I want there to be a fork in my right hand.
The pastor’s eye brow raised instinctively. He tried to smile away his curiosity.
She smiled back.
Well aren’t you gonna ask me what the fork is for? I know you’re wondering.
Haha, I am. So what’s with the fork?
She shuffled herself up an inch on the bed, as if she was about to explain some long held secret.
I’ve been going to Sunday potlucks nearly seventy years now. Every Sunday I’d haul over a pot of my delicious casserole or a tray of muffins. We would eat and laugh and enjoy one another’s company. I tell you, some of my favorite memories come from those potlucks.
The pastor nodded in agreement. He gave his full attention as he waited to hear about the fork.
My favorite part of those meals was towards the end right after we had finished the main course. As the volunteers would be coming around to collect our plates my friend in the seat beside me would lean over and say, keep your fork.
It meant the meal wasn’t over. In fact the best was yet to come. Because next they would bring out the pies and the cakes and all the sweet things you could set your eyes on.
Pastor, my meal isn’t over. The best is yet to come.
The pastor smiled with tears in his eyes. This woman had a deeper grasp of heaven than him; he was humbled.
That night she passed away.
At the funeral he upheld her requests. On her left side lay an old weathered leather Bible. And on her right tucked in her hand was a small silver fork.
As people paid their respects the pastor kept overhearing, why is there a fork in there?
When the pastor got up to give a few words he began by retelling the conversation he had had with Mar the previous day. He told them how he couldn’t stop thinking about the fork, about how it symbolized the greater things that are to come. And now it would be stuck with them as well.
So next time you reach down for your fork, let it remind you oh so gently that there is something better coming.
*You can read an original version here.