As the sun began to set on Point Loma Nazarene University, students, friends and loved ones gathered to pay homage to Christian Kent, a sophomore at PLNU, who passed away on Oct. 14, 2018, in his Huntington Beach home. A paddle out was organized to celebrate Christian’s life where people close to Christian shared stories of him, prayed for a safe journey and rejoiced that his presence was felt, and we had the honor of knowing Christian during his time here. After the prayer, flowers were thrown to the skies and landed gently in the sun-soaked ocean. Christian would have wanted us to surf in remembrance of him.
Brandon Albertson, a senior at PLNU, grew up with Christian in their hometown of Huntington Beach. “I’ve known Christian for 12 years. I met him for the first time when we were surfing Newport Point. He was in sixth grade and was dating my sister at the time. I had a fat beard and he thought that I was my sister’s dad at first.” Albertson says, “We became really good friends even after my sister and he broke up. They also remained really good friends.”
“He was one of those kids who always wanted to surf,” Albertson said. “He would be the first one up before sunrise trying to get everyone to get up so we could surf. He was cool, calm and collected. He was always pretty gentle. He had a great sense of humor and was always cracking jokes. He was respectful. He was also a connector. Many of my good friends came from the people he would introduce me too. That’s why he was a big loss to the community. He knew everyone. His dad is a Newport legend who helped put Echo Beach on the map back in the 70s.”
Through Christian’s passing, Albertson believes, “the school can learn the lesson that you should let those you care about know you care for them because you never know when the last time you are going to see them is going to be.”
When I reached out to the family of Christian, they respectfully declined to speak on the matter and requested that no information be given out on behalf of the family.
Although his time at PLNU was short, he had a profound impact and inspired students to live a life as he did. A life filled with love, kindness, authenticity and happiness.
Christian was always the first person up in the morning to get into the water. He defined the phrase, first in, last out. He led. We followed. He was the friendly face greeting you around campus, the smile you needed on that rainy day, the one to help you out no matter the situation you were in.
Christian’s passing is a reality check. There is a lot to be grateful for in life. We can’t take life for granted; it’s easy to do, but the passing of a close friend and peer allows us to take a step back and reevaluate what we are grateful for. The ability to wake up every morning is a blessing within itself.
In the moments when you felt life was spinning backwards, Christian would help you move forward. The Santa Ana winds flowed the morning following Christian’s passing. God speaks in subtle ways. Christian is home.