There are moments in your life when you’re certain you’ve made a terrible mistake. You don’t need anyone to tell you. You just know. I had one of those experiences earlier this year on a Saturday morning when I looked out the window of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart retreat house in Myross Woods and saw a wet, grey, cold day. Time for a good fire and a cup of tea. Definitely not the day to go surfing with a group of young people from Cork as part of our Surf, Son, and Sand Retreat!
So it was, with a smiling face and a heavy heart, I joined our team and our young people on Inchydoney Strand. It had taken us the better part of fifteen minutes to put on our wetsuits, boots, hoods, and gloves. It wasn’t looking good. Once we were in however everything changed. We all had a great morning. Some of the young people even managed to stay up on the board. I ended up with an extra wide board for those fledgling surfers who need ‘some extra support.’
The whole weekend was built around strengthening our relationship with God. The young people came from our Cork youth group and from the schools where the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart / Dominican youth ministers worked. It was an opportunity to leave behind the pressures of school and studies. Through prayer, drama, the Sacraments, and surfing, the team encouraged the teenagers to remember that they were created in God’s image, blessed by His love, and called to live life to the full.
This retreat was only one of the events run by our youth ministry team. I did manage to get up on my knees, which the instructor said was real progress. I think he was just being kind. Still we’ll be back next year! Surfs Up!