I am lying in bed with my chocolate lab, mourning the death of a 31-year-old musician I never met. Nightbirde was her stage name. Her real name was Jane Marczewski. For the last year, her story and song have downloaded hope and strength into my heart.
I have watched her “golden button” moment on “America’s Got Talent” over and over again, watching Simon Powell wipe tears from his eyes: This stoic giant known for his aloofness felt profoundly touched in her presence. In a moment she changed the fibers of this world with her bravery and beauty with her mere two percent chance of survival.
She dealt with physical, mental, interpersonal, and spiritual agony, and she pushed forward in order to live life as she had been equipped and called. Just now, I found out of her death in a brief article while scrolling through facebook. The world found itself shaken and moved to its knees by her frail life. She pushed through the caustic surface of pride, hate, and competition, and I pray that the world did not manage pop back into its former shape by the time the news of her death was released.
Can our lives make a difference?
Can my life make a difference?
Will I waste my life? The aftermath of Covid has left me reeling: Sleeping through the mornings, spending the afternoons going through the motions of an exercise routine that seems to have outlived its benefits, and then paying for the over-exertion in the evening when I am given a window of time to sew into the lives of the very beings whom I had the privilege of bringing into this world?
God, what does it mean to make my life count?
On a personal scale, in my home?
On a community scale, with those around me?
On a global scale, as He, through my obedience and courage transforms the fibers of the world into the fibers of the kingdom?
Can I, a profoundly weak individual who requires massive amounts of rest, who grits her teeth through the constant gnawing of pain, who tries to keep her mouth shut because most of her thoughts and words are filtered through a brain that is influenced by the influence of many medications, too little blood flow and oxygen, and the unwanted chemicals that accompany chronic pain and fatigue: can I be someone who is used to skip a smooth stone across the surface of this world in order to create greater ripples that push others into the glory of Christ? The answer is always yes.
I saw Jane run. I saw Jane sing. I saw Jane change the world with a bittersweet joy, with her honest lament and profound hope in the face of earthly doom. I saw Jane face death defiantly and before the whole world declare that it couldn’t have her. She was already claimed by the King of life.
Jane’s ripples go on.
And whatever happens, mine will too.