Shorelines - Edwin Lynn


“The Sun will not rise or set without my notice and thanks” – Winslow Homer

Shorelines illuminates and warms like the countless sunrises that have inspired it. The third book (after ‘Tired Dragons’ and ‘Days Alive’) by my father, Edwin Lynn, shares a lifetime of insights and illustrations.

Like father like son. Writing about life’s experiences and lessons all polished by the professional editorial hand of Marj Lynn. Shorelines actually echoes on both of the themes I myself have been writing about here. Most obvious is ‘embracing failure’. Of the three major sections, an entire one is devoted to ‘Adversity’ (the other two are ‘Attitude’ and ‘Gratitude’)

However, that’s where the comparisons end between ‘Boys Will Be Men’ and ‘Shorelines’ end. The former was a inspired by an exceptional year of my life, while ‘Shorelines’ is inspired by years of exceptional life by Dad. The product of over 30 years of reflection and sharing, it is distillation of his best insights polished with the reflective perspective as he revisits these subjects.

In particular, the chapters on ‘Adversity’ include…

  • Greenheads In Season, No Refunds—Reshaping Adversity: “But no one ever promised us a perfect beach. In one final sting of reality, there are no refunds.”
  • Barnacles and Other Grabbers—Getting Unstuck: “Unlike the barnacle, we are capable of loosening our protective shell, freeing our grip and letting go.”
  • Gritty Gull—Adapting to Challenges: “Adaptability and acceptance are a necessary blend that is succinctly and profoundly expressed in what has become known as the Serenity Prayer: ‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.’ And a sense of humor if I can’t tell the difference.”
  • Crab Shedding—Being Vulnerable: “The horseshoe crab has survived for millions of years despite its periodically helpless state between shells.”
  • Ocean’s Edge—Transition Difficulties: “When I’m at the edge, I’m on new ground. I need to make unaccustomed decisions about different circumstances, which can be complicated by the emotions of grief and sometimes fear.”
  • Cormorant Diving—Time to Act: “I eventually become aware that my repetitive evasion has gone on too long, and it is time for me to act.”
  • Fog Lifting—Seeing Clearly: “We are all susceptible to a fog moving in upon us, but we need to remember that it will eventually lift, and our way will become clear.”
  • Rented Boat, Borrowed Map—Limits of Theory: “Most learning takes place not in theory, but in daily trial and error.”
  • Undertow, Under Toad—Real and Imagined Fears: “We become successful in meeting our goals when we distinguish the real undertow from the imaginary Under Toad that holds us back.”

Some of the lessons and observations I have previously shared such as the ‘18% Tax’ and ‘Facts Not Fault’ (mentioned in ‘Barnacles and Other Grabbers’), but as you can see just this one section is rich with material (some of which I will delve into in the future).

Less obviously, the whole theme of the book – ‘Shorelines’ – parallels the Leader/Manager balance. The title of the book is not about the ocean, nor is it about the beach. It is about that ephemeral often magical point where the two meet. Similarly, steering an organisation is neither just about vision as expansive as the ocean’s horizon, nor about the grounding of solid land, but the balance between the two. The Shoreline. A balance as fluid as the tides, the storms, the winds and the currents. In fact, Dad devotes a chapter to the very subject of ‘Shorelines’.

A lifetime of insight shared with heart and wisdom and a must read for anyone who appreciates every sunrise.

Rev Edwin Lynn