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Life More than Legacy

July 4, 2024 3 min read

In June of 2021, the vocal artist, Jane Marczewski (aka, Nightbirde), auditioned for the TV music competition America’s Got Talent. Her soothing voice and the reflective lyrics of her original composition, “It’s Ok,” quickly won over the judges and the audience and earned her the Golden Buzzer Award, automatically advancing her to the competition’s quarterfinal round. Yet Jane withdrew from the competition before any other performances to give attention to her medical needs, as she was in the midst of undergoing cancer treatments. Her disease had metastasized to her lungs, spine, and liver, and she later died in February of 2022.

From her first moments on stage, Jane captivated others with her smile and joyful spirit. She showed determination and a sense of freedom, not wanting to be defined by the burdens that she carried. And though her appearance on the popular TV competition was brief, she touched the hearts of many and went only to inspire other artists, including the Lebanese female dance troop, The Mayyas, and the Mzansi Youth Choir from South Africa, both of whom received the Golden Buzzer Award on America’s Got Talent in later episodes.

Jane’s inspiration is not insignificant. Her radiant beauty and perseverance in the midst of adversity deeply moved the hearts of countless people around the world. Through her broadcast performances and online recordings, her legacy continues to inspire others who strive for happiness in the face of struggles, and who portray beauty through the gift of music. Her memory on earth looms large, even after her death.

Yet from a Christian perspective, it is not enough to think of Jane only in terms of her earthly legacy. She is a beloved daughter of God and was not created only for worldly memories. Through the gift of her life, she was given a soul that continues even after death, and which we hope has been welcomed into the Lord’s merciful arms and is reigning with him in the halls of heaven. Thus from a Christian point-of-view, we value the legacies of others, yet our eyes are fixed on our Savior and His Kingdom, where life has no end. We know that earthly legacies are important. An inspiring life of virtue can make a significant impact on the way others live and how culture continues to renew itself. Such legacies can also others in the face of adversity as they seek the kingdom of God. Yet ultimately, we cannot limit our gaze to earthly memories and must keep our focus on the gift of eternal life, to which we are all called.

Jane will be remembered for years to come for her joy, determination, and artistry. Yet it would be unfair to her, and to all who have gone before us in death, to limit them to their earthly memory. Instead, our vision should look to the eternal, as we intercede for all who have preceded us into the eternal realm. For it is there that our desire for salvation will be realized and where we will come to enjoy our eternal reward.

Legacies on earth are powerful and important. Yet what is more important are the realities that last beyond the memories of this lifetime. We have been made for eternity, and we strive for that gift of eternal life assured to us through Christ our Redeemer. May this be the gift now enjoyed by Jane and all who have gone before us in death.

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