Tom’s Paddle Out

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

In an earlier post I mentioned Pilot’s oldest brother, Tom, died suddenly in his sleep June 1, 2017. Following Tom’s formal service under the pavilion, friends and family wearing floral leis took to their surf boards for a surfer’s paddle out in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast.

As is the custom within the surf community, where friends and family gather at the deceased’s favorite local surf break and paddle out beyond the break, Pilot joined the group. Straddling their surf boards, they formed a circle, shared remembrances of Tom and said a prayer. Afterwards, they splashed water in celebration of a life well-lived, and threw flowers into the center of the circle before turning back to shore.

As I watched each surfer walk away from the water, the words to Kari Jobe’s “I Am Not Alone” ran through my head.

I am not alone. I am not alone. You will go before me. You will never leave me.

Tom Quandt has gone on before us, yet his family and friends are not left alone because Jesus has promised to never leave or forsake those of us who belong to him. Jesus goes before us and walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death. Jesus is our strength and refuge. Amen?

No matter where we might be right now in our life, what we’ve been through, or what is  staring us in the face, one thing remains sure and true: We are not alone.

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The following scripture is taken from the Hawai’i Pidgin translation, and may prove difficult to read, but I felt this translation appropriate for this post.

Den I wen hear someting dat wen sound like get plenny peopo making big noise, jalike big water pounding, an jalike loud thunder. Dey say,

“God, he da greatest! Hallelujah! Cuz he da Boss dat stay in charge, An he da King ova all! He da God Dat Get All Da Power! Now we can feel good inside, An dance an sing, An tell how awesome he stay! Cuz now, get da big lu‛au Fo Godʼs Baby Sheep Guy! He goin take his peopo fo be wit him, An dey wen make demself ready fo him, Jalike da groom take his bride An she wen make herself ready fo him.” Revelation 19:6-8 (Hawai’i Pidgin)

I wish you well.


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4 thoughts on “Tom’s Paddle Out

  1. Pilot had described the plans for Tom’s memorial servIce. I am glad to see how it was carried out. Loved how personalized it was.


  2. I have never heard of a paddle out ceremony before, but what a lovely way to celebrate Tom’s life. I know God is always with us to comfort us no matter what we are going through.


    • The paddle out was very touching, especially when Pilot and his remaining brother stayed out beyond the break for time together as everyone else paddled in. You’re so right, Alyce, God is always with us. No matter what.


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