Setting Out

Well, I’m sitting on a plane somewhere above 10,000 feet as they’re not yelling at me to put my electronics away. Good thing they don’t walk around and ask about bluetooth, or they’d chase away my keyboard. 🙂

So far, things have gone smoothly. Packing last night lasted until 2am and after waking at 5am, I can tell my ears are warm (an indicator that my mom has always claimed tells her when I’m tired). I haven’t felt the need to nap, but it might capture me during this flight. We’re in the bulkhead, so I don’t have to worry about someone dropping their chair into my lap. Heather’s next to me, flitting between brief naps, solitaire and excitement. Currently, her eyes are lit up knowing that food is coming soon on this segment. I love her. Her joy for life is contagious, and it’s fun to have my view expanded to appreciate all of those “little” details.

Somewhere behind me, we’ve got a bunch of relatives. Jim & Ellen (aunt & uncle), Kathleen & Seth (cousin & son), Bill (Kathleen’s close friend), and of course Nick & Amy (my brother and his girlfriend).

A highlight so far was our reception by Seth in the hallway of SeaTac. Nick, Amy, Heather & myself were conversing about whether or not food was in order. Suddenly a three foot bundle of energy tossed himself eagerly at Nicholas’s waist. Er, okay…? My initial thought was that this little boy had mistakenly identified Nick as friend or family, he recoiled, everyone looking a bit confused. Then I notice that someone is in the distance orchestrating this ambush; she’s saying something like, “no, no, that one is Cody!” (obviously pointing this effervescent little boy in my direction.) Suddenly it dawns on me: this is Seth! And of course it’s Kathleen in the distance guiding him towards us. As it turns out, Seth has an eye for the Bennett’s. 🙂

In our initial greetings, it’s funny to note how recollections can fade. Sometime in the last 20 years, I visited Kathleen at Big Lake, and during that time I met Bill. My memory of the trip isn’t nearly as strong as my mother’s who recalls that we took a roadtrip down the Soldotna peninsula to visit Jim. I do remember going to Big Lake, but beyond that, there are major gaps in memory. Our best assessment is that it likely was sometime in the 1993/94 time frame. And of course before that, the last time I had seen Uncle Jim was at my father’s burial some 22 years ago. (Am I really old enough to be able to remember something thaaat long ago? Ha!)

In my “harmony” personality theme, I want to be sure others are having a good time, and conflict is at a minimum. I notice that there are some hesitancies or apprehensions that may be present, and I’m hoping that they fade as the week goes on. Yesterday I was listening to a talk where the speaker reminded the listeners of one of Covey’s seven tenets: Start with the End in Mind. I guess that’s what I’ll do:

I want to connect with family. I want to understand the family connections that exist, and understand how I am a part of it. I want to build the friendship between my brother and I. I want to soak in the information without preconceived notions. I want to have boundless energy and to show boundless love for everyone present, being genuinely interested in who they are both on the surface and at their core. I want to serve and bless. Both things that I’ve been fortunate to receive in my own upbringing.

In the earlier flight, I listened to a talk by John C. Maxwell who was speaking on winning with people. He noted, of course, that everyone has their own lens, and that who they are will influence how they interact or interpret situations. One element of his talk stood out; (in my hazy recollection) he suggested that people are products of three elements: 1) Genetics, 2) Input, and 3) Association. Now that I think back on it, it seems like I am mis-remembering that list. I’m pretty sure in my list 2 & 3 are fairly similar, so maybe later on I’ll re-listen to it for a clear recollection. But, even still, the impact stands: we are who we are largely in part due to our genetics and our upbringing. Without growing up with information about my father, I’m only half-aware of where I come from. To that end, I would add one more ‘want’ to my list above: I want to learn about who my father was.

Maybe my list will change with time, but for now, I’ll try to keep focused on those things. Connect with family, learn about my father & build relationships.

In an effort to have boundless, unflappable energy and love for others, I’ll be continuously praying, reflecting and trying to be good about filling my own tank. Both with good head-food as well as body-fuel.

Stay tuned…

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