One Day We Will All Sing Again

Years ago a story by popular author Paul Villard became well-known but, perhaps, has been forgotten in recent years. It is a story about a child named Mary and a telephone operator named Sally which occurred in the early days of telephone service. Here’s the story— 

Mary and her family were living on the West Coast at the time and were some of the first in their neighborhood to have a telephone. It was one of those old box types that hung on the wall with something you spoke into and a receiver you would hold to your ear. You would ring it when you wanted to call somebody. You know what I’m talking about… 

Well, this child Mary became fascinated with somebody called Information, please. She came to realize that her mother received all kinds of information from this person. For example, if the clock stopped running, they would call Information, please and find out what time it was. If she didn’t know her neighbor’s telephone number, they would call Information, please and get the neighbor’s number. 

One day her mother had gone next door to a neighbor’s house and young Mary somehow banged her finger and it hurt badly. She did what all children do, crying she ran to find her mother but her mother wasn’t there. She noticed the telephone on the wall and, without any other thought, she ran to it and rang up Information, please.  

Sally, the telephone operator, could hear little Mary crying and so she said, “Is your mother there?” Mary answered, “No.” Sally said, “What happened?” Mary replied, “I banged my finger.” Sally asked, “Is it bleeding?” Mary answered, “No, it’s not bleeding.” So Mary told the little girl, “Well, you go to the icebox and get a piece of ice and put it on your finger and it will be all right.” The child said, “I will do that.”  

After this incident, Mary, the child, and Sally, the telephone operator, developed a long lasting friendship. Any time anything significant happened in Mary’s life, she called her operator friend, Sally. When her pet canary died, she was heartbroken and called Sally, Information, please. She told her all the things that an adult should say to a child that’s lost her favorite pet. Mary continued to cry, and then Sally said to her, “Don’t cry for your bird. Mary, always remember that there are other worlds to sing in.”  

Sometime later, Mary and her family moved all the way across the country to Boston. The new telephone they had in the big city of Boston didn’t have Information, please in the same way. 

One day several years later, Mary was now an adult and she found herself on the West Coast, and on impulse in an airport she called her hometown and asked for Sally, who had formerly been the Information, please operator. Well, as it turns out, Sally now had another job with the same telephone company and they had a nice visit over the phone. They agreed to stay in touch more often. Then she hung up and caught her flight back to Boston. Five months later, Mary was back out in the same location, called her friend Sally again, but could not reach her. She was disappointed that she could not reconnect with her long-time friend. Finally, the person that she was talking to asked, “Is your name Mary?” Mary answered, “Yes.” Then the voice of a stranger on the line said, “Sally left a message for you.  She has not been well in recent weeks and she died about five weeks ago, but here is the message she left for you: ‘You tell Mary when she calls that I still believe that there are other worlds to sing in.’” 

Mary hung up, for she understood the message.  

As your Pastor, today I’m a bit teary eyed, for we have all lost a good friend in our ministry and a great servant of our Lord. We will miss Janet, my pastoral assistant. But I would remind you that there is always One who listens to the deep cries of our hearts and who will help us through this journey. It is the One who is preparing for us a place where one day we will all sing once again!  

Devotedly yours, 
Pastor Ron 


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