How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
This piece of wisdom has been around forever, it seems. The point of the saying is that things often look impossible or overwhelming if you look at the whole picture, but if you break it down into bite-sized pieces, they often become manageable.
In my life right now, Joelene and I are eating an elephant. We need to get the house ready to list, need to get it listed, move out all of our daughter's stuff that has been stored, box up a lot of our stuff, I need to box and pack up my office, I need to get moving bids, we need to find a house in Buffalo, we need to sell our house, we need to buy a new house, we need to plan how we're getting to Buffalo, we need to wrap up doctor and dental appointments, we need to . . . I don't know what all else. There's Just. So. Much.
Here at Saint John's, you all are dealing with your own elephant. The Senior Warden needs to line up supply clergy. He and the Junior Warden need to work with the Diocese on finding an interim. The Vestry will need to put together a Search Team. A parish profile will need to be formed and written. Interviews will need to be conducted. And all of that on top of doing the regular business of the church. There's Just. So. Much.
But you know what? Joelene and I are not going to get to Buffalo by putting the whole elephant on the truck. Saint John's is not going to go through this process by standing an elephant in the middle of the nave. Instead, we both will need to eat the elephant one bite at a time.
Move my daughter's stuff into storage. Check. Pack up one room. Check. Pack up one shelf of office books. Check. Check. Check. Check. Contact a moving agency. Check. Keep the house clean for prospective buyers. Check. Line up supply clergy. Check. Meet with prospective interim priest. Check. Schedule Cn. Wright to meet with the congregation. Check.
Yes, all of the elephant needs to get eaten. But breaking it down into bite-sized pieces and then eating that one bite, sometimes only once a day, will make it seem manageable as well as give us both a sense of accomplishment as we each achieve one short-term goal at a time.
These are stressful times for all of us. Joelene and I are doing what we can to keep that stress to a minimum. The Wardens and Vestry are doing what they can to keep that stress to a minimum. And if it seems too much, or too overwhelming, take a few moments and pray this prayer:
O God of peace, who has taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be our strength: By the might of your Spirit lift us, we pray, to your presence, where we may be still and know that you are God. Amen.