Wayne Neller

Just about a month ago Singer Jane Marczewski performed on the TV show “America’s Got Talent.” Her message has taken the Internet by storm. 

Jane goes by the stage name of Nightbirde. Her original song, “It’s OK,” tells her personal story of a 30-year-old with cancer and only a 2 percent chance of survival. 

“I moved to California in the summer time

I changed my name thinking that it would change my mind

I thought that all my problems they would stay behind

I was a stick of dynamite and it was just a matter of time, yeah.”

Like Nightbirde, how many of us have tried to run away from reality only to discover that reality is tenacious and hanging on to our shirttail the entire time? 

True, if addicts are seeking a healthy life, they are often counseled to change the people they associate with, the things they typically do, and the places they tend to hang out. Yet we cannot forget the age old truth, “Wherever you go, there you are.”

Jane ran but she couldn’t hide. Indeed, as she shared in the 1st verse of her song, she “was a stick of dynamite and it was just a matter of time.” 

Yet Jane’s story doesn’t end there. Not by a long shot. Jane, you see, is learning. She uttered these words while still on the national stage: “You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” 

Celebrity judge Simon Cowell was obviously impressed by what Nightbirde shared — in word and in song. While one can never be sure when watching the TV, the water which seemed ready to spill from Simon’s eyes did not appear to be staged. 

As I watched the performance and Simon’s reaction I was forced to wonder though — did Simon feel badly for the 30-year-old who has been dealt a tough hand or was it that Simon knew he would not face such a circumstance as well as Jane? 

Don’t confuse Nightbirde with Pollyanna. She isn’t reveling in denial. She tried ignorance and came to discover personally the harsh truth — ignorance is not bliss. 

Yet it appears there is a land between the city of despair and the distant country of denial. A 3rd option, if you will, that is seldom discovered or explored. 

What are we to do with this 30-year-old and her proposed revelation? What part of this can possibly be OK? In what country or universe is it “OK” to be suffering at such a young age from an illness and given only a 2 percent chance of survival? 

Jane may not become famous. She may not even be well enough or live long enough to sing on “America’s Got Talent” again. Yet I hope her timely message will reverberate within the masses who have seen her. 

Nearly 8 billion of us crowd around this ball circling the sun. And every one of us has a 100 percent chance of dying. Every single one. 

In that sense, we each are faced with the same tragic circumstance that Jane is. The same condition and just as importantly, the same decision. 

We can mope around, disgruntled, angry and hateful — raising our fist toward the heavens and cursing God for our hardships. Or we can, like Nightbirde, say it’s OK and decide to be happy regardless of our circumstance. 

We can choose to do this now, refusing to wait until life isn’t hard anymore. What choice will you make today? You ponder that.o

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