It's been almost a year since I discovered our local Columbia Protogrove and started attending rituals. And a LOT has happened in that year.
After attending 3 rituals with the grove, my husband expressed interest in taking on the Dedicant Program. I had my reservations, not for any other reason aside my personal fear of overextending myself.
After one study group meet-up I decided to start the Dedicant program after all. The group consisted of a few of other grove members and I thought that it would be a fun experience as opposed to an overloading one. I was still a bit hesitant to take on the responsibility as I was in my first college term back to school after nearly 9 years.
I turn 30 this year. Going back to college is a big deal to me and I am a tremendous academic overachiever. Here I am, 3 terms later, finishing my first year with a 4.0. Needless to say my academic study time has really affected my social life and extra curricular activities. I'm pre-med (Pharmacy student) so my grades are VERY important.
I am a mother of a happy and healthy 6 year old boy, I am a wife of 5 years to my loving Husband (we have been together 8.5 years now), I am a girlfriend of almost 3 years to my loving Boyfriend. I am polyamorous, and balancing my family is, and will always be, my number 1. focus. We all get along great and my relationships are strong, but they do require my time and energy to keep healthy.
Around the time of Imbolc this year I was starting to get really excited about Columbia Protogrove and its members. After that one study group I decided "YES" I want to do this, I "CAN" do this and I signed up with ADF immediately. I was happy to have found a positive community that I could grow in.
Then something rather drastic happened, the day of our public Imbolc ritual, two important grove members quit our grove all together. These members were the ones leading our study group, they were active members in the Imbolc ritual, and just like that, they were gone.
It's times of conflict that reveal roads to us. It's the paths we choose to take that help shape us. I chose not to be overwhelmed and feel lost, I chose to help rebuild. Our grove leader asked my husband and I to help out and we ran with it full force. Before I ever got my physical copy of "Our Own Druidry" in the mail I decided to help run our grove study group. Being an active member of this grove was something I wanted to do, something that the grove needed desperately at that time, and I don't regret that decision one bit.
After Imbolc, I began writing invocations and helping construct public ritual parts. I learned. I grew. I became a face for Columbia protogrove and was accepted despite the fact that I was still learning the ins and outs as I went along. Unfortunately, my dedicant assignments suffered a bit due to time management obligations but I continued to lead our study groups and while I haven't written much in my blog since Imbolc I have more than enough content to write about in my head and heart.
Another setback happened right before our Hilaria ritual when I fractured my foot. I dealt with casts, surgery, and pain. I was in a cast for 6 weeks and am still re-learning how to walk. I struggled but it taught me a lot about what I am capable of.
Our grove has been doing nothing but growing and getting stronger since the leadership restructure around Imbolc. We now have a thriving Study Community, a strong Bard group, we are doing all sorts of extra projects with endless ideas for the future. I am so very happy to be a part of this group.
As I finish my first year back to college, I am proud of my accomplishments. I am proud of my involvement with Columbia Protogrove and I am proud I didn't run away when it felt like everything would be too hard.
Now that I am officially on summer vacation I plan on devoting massive energy and focus into my Dedicant program. Who knows what next year will hold in terms of how challenging my life will be, but I am happy to be part of a community that wants me to succeed and offers support when I struggle. <3