“Keep Your Fork”

fork-02It’s a beautiful display of all the food groups at once facing you, filling nostrils and mouths beginning to water.  The table is set and everyone is seated except the oldest who seems to appreciate the bathroom more than the rest of us.  I think to myself, it’s okay, it’s a party.  We’re in no hurry for it to end.

“When was the last time I had a linen napkin?” I wonder.  If I had this party, I’d have to buy a bunch of them for a group this size.  The dishes look as elegant as the napkins but I’m too shy to turn the plate over to see who’s responsible for creating this fine china.  I resign myself to “go with the flow,” as they say and just enjoy the evening as it unfolds.  I see lots of spoons in bowls and platters but I also see that I have only one fork.  Ummmm.  “I guess I better take care of this fork,” I think to myself.

“Family style” they call it as you pass dishes to each other amid loud conversations and feel as though you’re reenacting a scene from “The Waltons.”    I see one person holding the bowl making it easier for the older woman who just can’t seem to get that bean she wants onto her plate.  Another courteously refrains from the portion he truly wanted so that the last person can enjoy some as well.

A perfect meal with delicious tastes at each round.  The dishes are carefully picked up when the host surprisingly alerts us to “keep your fork.”  I’m dumbfounded.  “That explains the expensive dishes and napkins,” I think to myself.  “She couldn’t afford enough forks for us.  Poor thing.  Surely there must be another set of forks laying around that she could extend to us.”  I stare at my one fork and am glad that it’s not as dirty as it could have been.  I’m also wondering if I should take the fork home as a souvenir of my “one-forked” evening.  I assume she’d miss it since we needed to keep the one already in our possession.

I play with it during the lull while I see others moving theirs around as they talk and laugh.  We are all waiting for our one fork’s final use.   Something was mentioned about dessert but the youngest among us dismisses the notion.

There are many courses during life.  Some include lessons and others are academic that we work through to get to the next course.  All of it includes food – for the body, mind and spirit.  The most important part of any course or meal is the digestion, the time of simmering and letting rest what has been taken in.  We digest a lot about our relationships and about ourselves.

Through all of life’s entire largess we keep our one fork.  We often think there’s another one waiting for us if we only do this or that or think that or this.  However, there is only one fork.

We need it for dessert.

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About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. He is associate pastor of partnering parishes, Christ King and St. Bernard parishes in Wauwatosa, WI.
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