Yeah, that's the order.
I place my relationship with the Kindred first in my life. Well, that's the intent anyway. It is and always has been the most important thing to me. I haven't really understood how to develop that relationship well for my entire life, but as I've figured it out and found patterns that work, I've gotten a lot better at it.
This, of course, led to the perception that I was placing more emphasis on it. . . I really wasn't, but as I became better at it and more sure of myself, it began to show a bit more in my personality. I draw incredible strength and peace from my faith. Really, if I could have nothing else in this world, I would merely ask for the chance to show my devotion, and I could be happy, full, complete.
My Grove, of course, comes next. Now, by "my Grove," I technically mean "ADF". You see, my involvement on ADF is primarily through my Grove (which is why I am constantly astounded at the implication that I'm important on the organizational level within ADF). I have, however, never really considered myself cut out for organizational leadership. . . I very much prefer working on the local level. "ADF" and "the Grove" are, to me, synonymous. Always have been.
But my Grove is something that I've worked hard with, and I've put a lot into it. If there's any sort of calling (and I believe that there is), it's to work on this level. Crazy as it may sound, I'm meant to do this stuff. I know that now.
And honestly, those two things are more than enough in my life. As I've thought about dating again, wondered if I'm ready, thought about whether I could handle it, I realize that with those two things, my life is already complete. Everything else is, well, just icing on the cake.
But some of you know how much I love licking icing off things. . . By which, of course, I mean that icing is my favourite part of the cake.
My girl, I'm afraid, is always going to come third. This does not at all mean that the girl is unimportant, or that I necessarily will not occasionally place her above the other two things, but in general, this is where she falls, push coming to shove. My time with her will be limited by these other two things. But then, I don't consider it "limiting", really. I don't have that conception.
The way I look at it, and have always looked at it, is that I will do my best for the girl, but I will schedule my time with her around the Grove. I will do my best for the Grove, but I will schedule my time with them around the Kindred.
Why am I writing this? Because anyone who is interested in me needs to know this. Anyone who wants a relationship will need to know. Tina felt that it had snuck up on her, or that I was dishonest about it. And that shouldn't happen again.