Surfing with Lincoln

I grew up in So Cal and like to surf.  I also like to study the life of Abraham Lincoln (don’t know if he surfed).  I know that a lot of people have written a lot about the man, but he still fascinates me.  As I was reading Richard Carwardine’s excellent biography, it struck me that Lincoln entered midlife a moderately successful lawyer who had really played out on the political scene.  He had served his time in Congress, had established a fairly respectable law practice, had married into a good family, but his star was definitely declining.  Then Douglas ushers in the Nebraska Slavery Act and the mood of the country shifted sharply on issues of slavery in new territories.  Lincoln, in his famous speech at Peoria, repeated his long-held values and vision for the country, that had in large part been rejected just years before – but now the state, and the country, was ready to hear him.  Times had crystallized around the incubating, emerging leader, and then it was HIS TIME.  How often do leaders, who are incubating, get frustrated and give up because it is not yet their time?  I think one of the great leadership lessons of Lincoln is persistence.  Leaders are shaped by God for a time and a place, but they have to develop in time and places.  Like catching a wave – you have to paddle out in front of it, which can seem futile and hard, but when the timing is right, there is no other feeling!  Who’d ever think I’d get surfing lessons from Lincoln?


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