Today’s Prayer to Passage will be from the book “Fear of Flying” by Erica Jong.

Today I pray, “Dear God, When I was in high school I scavenged up quaters and one-dollar bills to purchase ‘The Low End Theory’ album by hip-hop artist A Tribe Called Quest. I was the only person I knew who owned the album. I listened to the CD on repeat mode for hours in my bedroom. Today I learned that Malik Taylor (“Phife Dawg”), one of the frontrunners of the music group — who contributed to an expansion of rhythm and poetry for me in my teenage years — made his transition to Heaven yesterday. I still have the CD I purchased so many years ago. A Tribe Called Quest ‘The Low End Theory’ was one of my top five favorite albums from ages 16-18 years.

It was honestly A Tribe Called Quest that introduced me to jazz. And I became more clarified and defined for myself in years when I was an impressionable kid, searching for a start to art and creation. Teenagers step to a path that is theirs to walk, and this sorting happens amid beats, tones, notes, and lyrics coming at them from all directions. What is a message to teenagers today in 2016? Amen.”

Following my prayer, I held the closed book in my hands and opened it to this passage:

“The trick is not how much pain you feel–but how much joy you feel. Any idiot can feel pain. Life is full of excuses to feel pain, excuses not to live, excuses, excuses, excuses.”

My irreverance peeked through during ages 16-18 years; 25-26; and 31-33. I wasn’t born in a nunnery. And my adulthood didn’t flourish in a bubble. Sometimes the only way a young adult can learn how to contribute to the world is to read a lot, listen to a dialogue beyond borders, and know that joy attainment is a challenge… yet a challenge worthwhile. It is a rite of passage for any teenager to know her or his own joy. And growth turns up beats for the rhythm of a well deserved quest.


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