Sankofa #12

Sankofa #12

You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.

– Jane Kirsten Marczewski
Jane Kirsten Marczewski 
 It would not surprise me if most of you don’t know who Jane Marczewski is. She is best known for being a singer who performed on America’s Got Talent in June 2021, where she got the coveted “Golden Buzzer” from Simon Cowell. She sung her original song, ‘It’s OK.” She is known professionally as Nightbirde. She became internationally known after appearing in America’s Got Talent. During her appearance, she offered two inspirational statements: “It’s important that everyone knows I’m so much more than the bad things that happen to me… You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” 
 
Here’s the context for her quote: Jane was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017. It went into remission but came back in 2021, the year she debuted on America’s Got Talent. Jane, as you can see in her performance, was incredibly talented, but that’s not even what makes this story special. What makes this special is who Jane decided to be, which was revealed when she said one of the best quotes I’ve ever heard. In fact, when I heard those inspiring words for the first time I was in tears. Jane tragically passed away from cancer at only 31 years old on 19 February, 2022.
 
Life is Difficult
Let’s be honest life is difficult for most people most of the time. Some of you who are reading this Musing may be going through tough times. Difficult times. Uncertain times. Trialling times. Frustrating times. Challenging times. I wish to know what each of you is going through, so that I can sit with you and listen and pray together if you wish. And maybe even cry a little together. Remember it’s only one phone call or one email away to contact me.
 
Life is Not Fair
Yes, life is difficult. I have had my fair share of challenges in life. And one other thing I have learned is that life is not “fair” at times. A few of you might even say, “Life is not fair most of the time.” So many things are outside our control. However, one thing I have also learned over the years is that we have control over how we respond to whatever challenges come our way. I don’t remember now where I came across this quote, but it has helped me: “We cannot prevent birds from flying over our heads, but we can keep them for making nests on top of our heads.” Believe it or not, whenever I see birds flying over my head, I remember this quote.
 
Victor Emil Frankl 
Victor Emil Frankl (1905–1997), Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor, devoted his life to studying, understanding, and promoting “meaning.” His famous book, Man’s Search for Meaning, tells the story of how he survived the Holocaust by finding personal meaning in the experience, which gave him the will to live through it. He went on to later establish a new school of existential therapy called logotherapy, based in the premise that humankind’s underlying motivator in life is a “will to meaning,” even in the most difficult of circumstances.
 
According to Victor E. Frankl, “Everything can be taken from a man (sic) but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” In short, whatever happens to us, we can choose how are going to response to life’s curveballs.
 
Once again, I want to share Jane Marczewski’s words with you and inform you about the life of this incredible person who deserves to be remembered. Whatever you might be going through it will never hurt to be reminded: “You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore, before you decide to be happy.”
 
Please watch Jane’s performance on America’s Got Talent. The link is below if you haven’t watched it before.[1] In fact as I rewatched her video while writing this musing I found that I became teary once again. I also remember the shortest verse in the gospels – “Jesus wept”. (John 11:35)
 
… in the meantime, blessed be.
 
Rev Swee Ann Koh
14th September 2022
    [1] https://youtu.be/CZJvBfoHDk0?t=179