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A story in Julia's honor...

A woman diagnosed with a terminal illness was given three months to live, so she set about getting her "things in order." As part of the process, she contacted her pastor and asked to meet with him 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. She also asked to be buried with her favorite bible. Everything in order, the pastor was about to leave when she suddenly remembered something very important.

"There's one more thing!" she said excitedly.

"What's that?" the pastor responded.

"This is very important," the woman continued. "I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand."

The pastor just stared at her, not knowing quite what to say.

"That surprises you, doesn't it?" she asked.

"Well, to be honest, I'm puzzled by the request," said the pastor.

"In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners," she explained, "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 with rich vanilla ice cream. Something wonderful, something with substance! So, I want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and to wonder 'What's with the fork?'."

Then I want you to tell them: "Keep your fork....the best is yet to come."

Tears of joy welled up in the pastor's eyes as he hugged the woman goodbye. He knew it would likely be the last time he would see her before her death, but he also knew that her grasp of heaven was exquisite. She KNEW that something better was coming.

At the funeral, people walked by the woman's casket, saw the pretty dress she was wearing, her favorite Bible, and the fork in her right hand. Over and over, the pastor heard the question "What's with the fork?" And over and over, he smiled.

During the service, the pastor told the congregation about their conversation, the fork, and what it symbolized to her. Since then, he said, he had been unable to stop thinking about the fork, and suggested that they probably would not be able to get it out of their minds either.

He was right.

So the next time you reach down for your fork, let it remind you, oh so gently, that the best is yet to come.

Here's hoping the dessert is scrumptious, the most fantastic ever. Rest in peace, Julia.
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