One of the blessed things about surfing is that it helps the surfer stay in the present, as opposed to living in the future, which does not yet exist.When I am surfing, I tend not to think about the future, except, perhaps, a future wave.

The existing moment is where life is found. As the scholar Evelyn Underhill put it, “God always comes to you in the Sacrament of the Present Moment.”

Surfing has helped teach me that there is a difference between being prepared for a future wave that does not yet exist (and may never exist) and being consumed by this not-yet existing future. The same truth applies to life on land.

We must plan for what we expect life to bring us, whether it be waves or a new roof on the house. We must plot and save and try our best to predict. But living for a future that does not yet exist is futile. It is a killjoy. It can be a self-made prison.

Mahatma Gandhi once remarked, “I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present. God has given me no control over the moment following.”

Surfers spend hours upon hours doing nothing but waiting for waves. Waiting in the present moment. The waiting is entirely non-productive, in the sense that nothing is being produced. The surfer does nothing but watch and wait. While it is accurate to say that surfers do this waiting as a means to an end — to glide, to surf — waiting for that glide is about 50 percent of surfing. 40 percent is paddling. 10 percent is the actual glide.

It strikes me how poor most of us are at waiting — for anything. If we are not busy moving into our predetermined future then we become anxious or frustrated. And yet, this constant determination for movement out of the present moment does little for our souls. We become impatient at the grocery store, impatient at traffic lights, impatient when we get caught by the Bridge of Lions, and impatient with people we love. We have been fooled into believing that busyness equates with worth or meaning or certainty of outcomes.

And then there is surfing ... sitting languidly on my longboard or gliding on a wave with little thought for the future.

In these moments, I know Jesus was right. “Do not worry about your life,” he said, “what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and body more than clothing.” In other words, stay in the moment and trust God’s Providence.

Hunter Camp is the pastor of Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Augustine.