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Surfing on God’s Wave

First let me be clear. I am far from being a surfer, but I enjoy seeing someone ride on a wave at the shore. On the first day in 2019 I drove to Montauk to see the New Year’s sun rising on the Atlantic Ocean. To be exact, I hoped to, but I couldn’t because the sun was already above in the sky by the time I got there.

On my way to the iconic lighthouse, I spotted a sign that read ‘Camp Hero State Park.’ I followed the entrance all the way to its parking close to the cliff shore line. There were many people who were doing beach trekking. You can see a breathtaking view from there of the Montauk lighthouse at a distance. A perfect spot to take pictures. There was something else there that caught my eyes. There were scores of surfers. Yes, you read it right. There were surfers who were riding on the waves of the Atlantic Ocean in January!

I’ve never known before that Montauk is a popular destination for winter surfers. For example, Camp Hero is open for the surfers from December 15 through the end of March. Why surfing in winter? Unlike a Hawaiian beach, the waves form high enough in Montauk only in winter, except for the hurricane season.

Those surfers dared to plunge into the ocean, swam to a certain distance until they got on a high wave. Once they get on a wave, all they need to do is keep balance while the wave carries them away to the shore. It is a thrilling ride. They are the people who are not afraid of the coldness and the high waves in winter but welcomes them and enjoys them.

That was the New Year’s lesson that I got at Montauk. For the surfers, the bigger and higher waves could be more rewarding. I think our faith journey in the new year will be just like that. We all would face inevitably the waves of challenge coming toward us throughout the year, big or small. I may never try winter surfing in Montauk. Seeing those surfers, however, I made my new year’s resolution: I want to be good at riding on God’s wave this year.

Steven Kim
Pastor, Setauket United Methodist Church


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