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Shortly after I began dating my now husband, he introduced me to the amazing world of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). We made it a tradition that each year for his birthday, we would go and see whatever MCU movie was put out that year. It's become our "thing" that we do as a couple. Though many times he tells me to "shush" during the movies because I ask too many questions, it hasn't stopped us from going to the movies and then discussing them at length after.

In my opinion, no line has become more iconic than at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy vol I, when the heroes are plummeting to their death and the great anthropomorphic tree, Groot, wraps himself around all the people to save them from imminent death by crashing to the earth. Through the whole movie, Groot says the same three words over and over and somehow, his friend Rocket is able to decipher exactly what it is that he is saying. As Groot and Rocket look at each other and our heroes get closer and closer to the ground, Rocket tells Groot, "No! You'll die!" and in a heartfelt moment, Groot looks at his friends and says "We are Groot." This change in pronoun is fraught with emotion as he relays to Rocket the importance of supporting one's friends for the greater good of the world. Check out the clip to see the whole scene.

The emotionally charged phrase has become one that the Sisley household quotes a lot. The support that one shows to another person for love of them resonates through the remainder of the movie--self-sacrificing love. From the scriptures, John 15:13 (CEB) "No one has greater love than to give up one’s life for one’s friends." It gets to the heart of what Christ did for us on the cross and encourages us, as followers of Christ, to put others first. Each day we have an opportunity to another person's needs before our own--but what happens when we are no longer emotionally, physically, and/or mentally able to put others before ourselves because we are drained. Well, that's when we change from I am Groot to We are Groot. We move from relying on ourselves to reaching out to those people around us.

One of the things that I have noticed about the community that surrounds First Moravian Church is that people seem to constantly be crying out for emotional support. In my circle, clergy need support from one another and we look for it and hopefully find it in healthy ways. But my other circle, with parents...that was a little harder to find. So, what do we do when we find a need that needs to be filled? We have two choices--pick something destructive to fill that void or pick something healthy. Parents and guardians with young children often feel isolated and cut off from the rest of the world because of the demands of raising a young person. Where do guardians and caregivers gather? Where do we find support? Who do we turn to in order to help us carry the burden of raising a tiny human?

It's a question I asked and found an answer with another Jesus loving mama in Riverside and together, we created GROOT Group. GROOT stands for Guardians Reaching Our Offspring Together. Together, with a healthy support system we will build systems of connection and relationship with people who are facing the same struggles we currently are. This is a group for anyone who is a primary caregiver of a child from birth through elementary age. We will be meeting on the second Tuesday of each month and having activities both for guardians and their little ones as well as separate activities for guardians...and also their little ones. On Tuesday October 9 at 11AM, we extend the invitation to any parent, guardian, foster parent, step parent or anyone who is a guardian of children in this age bracket to join us at Spring Garden park in Riverside for a mixer and to get to know each other. We hope you will come and spend some time connecting and getting supported. Look forward to meeting you. Remember, We are GROOT.

Check us out on Facebook by searching for GROOT Group and following the page!

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