Keep Your Fork

July 05, 2011

A chain email circulating around these days tells the story of a woman planning her own funeral. In her directions to the undertaker, she mandates that her right hand hold a fork. When the inquisitive mortician asks why, she answers, “My mother always said to ‘Keep Your Fork,’ so I’m going to do just that!” Those oft-told clichés and truisms from childhood and culture provide practical as well as spiritual advice for both the moment and the rest of our lives. Our interpretation of them provides colorful insight as well as acknowledgment that those who cared about us as children had our best interests in mind.

Good things come in small packages
As children, we associated small packages with gifts of little value. The larger the wrapped box, the more desirable - or so we thought. Anticipating gifts at both Christmas and birthdays, as children we wondered and imagined what the large packages held inside for us. We shook the box, listened intently as the contents shuffled around. If no sound arose, we assumed the package contained clothing - a safe yet disappointing assumption if we really wanted toys. Depending on the rattle or noise inside we guessed with minimal points of reference for such a young age, yet happily speculated what treasures lie within.

Just as our parents cajoled, "Good things come in small packages," the Universe presents its treasures to us not only in the grandiosity of the planet and stars, but in precious little gifts, as well. A sparkling example of a tiny earthly treasure, a diamond is the result of years of perfectly compressed carbon atoms, and is one of nature’s strongest bonds and hardest materials. More personally, our parents referred to their children as the small packages in which the priceless gift resided, further affirming our value and their love for us. As we move through life when we meet others, we attempt to get to know one another by listening to what they say and who they are (proverbially shaking the box), before making assumptions based on outward appearances.

Save room for dessert
Hand in hand with “don’t spoil your dinner,” many of life’s colloquialisms revolve around food. Our parents reminded us life didn’t consist of solely the main course and that other things – more desirable things – were on our plate for later on. They taught us to pace ourselves, to plan ahead and to look forward knowing fully that better things awaited us. Always saving room in our soon-to-be-filled tummies for the sweetest part of the meal, we learned that all of life offers us a delectable reward – we need only to know it exists and to make room for it in our lives.

Life offers us countless depictions of holding a space for good. When we are joyful and happy and fulfilled, we can’t imagine any more good could come to us. (Many of us doubt we deserve more good, but that's another issue entirely!) Alternatively, when we experience fear, anger and resentment, we can’t imagine there is any good that could come our way! Nonetheless, if we allow for the probability of a "cherry of top" of life's dessert, we hold a space for the spiritual possibility and invitation for life to serve us even more.

Keep your Fork
Just as the woman planning her final ceremony, as children we heard, "keep your fork" at the dinner table. Looking back, the practical direction often meant there weren’t two sets of silverware to go around, so in order to eat dessert without having to wait for the first set of flatware to be washed, you should keep your fork. It also indicated that dessert was a fork-event. Unlike a spoon event (ice cream or pudding) a fork usually meant cake or pie or something baked. So many unsaid interpretations of "keep your fork" ran through our minds and we ultimately knew it meant good things were imminent!

When Spirit offers us tools to use in the feast of Life, we make use of them every day. Internally or externally, our observations and processing thereof, provide us with many tools and often implied meanings and insight. By holding on to the tools we learned to use throughout our life, we can master the use of them and also know that more, quite possibly the best part, is yet to arrive. Life gives us the place setting of relationships, consciousness and communion with Spirit by which to fulfill our needs and desires. Our experience on the planet may be quickly gobbled or slowly savored, yet the tools remain the same.

As American as Ben Franklin's "Poor Richard’s Almanack," proverbs, truisms, 'old wives tales' and family sayings pervade our childhood memories. Popping into our heads at the most appropriate times, we hear our parents and elders in our memory, remind us about the little things in life which turn out to be major components if we pay attention.

We heard "Never judge a book by its cover," and coupled with dimensions, they remind us not to judge one another based on physical appearance or merely by how the person presents himself – there is usually more to each of us than meets the eye! When we save room for dessert, we learn to plan ahead for the good that life offers us. Allow for the probability that Spirit brings gifts to the party of your life and you simply need the capacity to receive it.

So, Keep your Fork – life isn’t done with you yet!

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