God willin’ and the creek don’t rise

February 17, 2014

Growing up in East Tennessee, this is a phrase I’ve heard often. “Tomorrow we will do such and such, God willin’ and the creek don’t rise.” Meaning, we will do it—so long as no unforeseeable circumstances arise and change our plans.

Many Haitians use a similar phrase, tacked on to the end of every single utterance regarding the future… si Bondye vle or si Dye vle, which literally translates “if God wants”. They make their plans, but realize that ultimately God is in control.

Every time our housekeeper Jocelyne leaves for the day, she’ll tell me goodbye and that she’ll see me tomorrow, God willing. I asked her why she says it.

“Maybe I get home and I get sick or start to have pain and I can’t work tomorrow. So I say, God willing. It’s God who decides if He wants it to happen.”

Our cook Yvette chimes in and agrees.

I ask Jocelyne if she has anything else to add.

“That’s it,” she says. “There’s nothing else to add.” As in… it’s as simple as that! We plan, but God is still in control. End of story!

Junior, our groundskeeper and go-to guy, has been listening and remarks, “I may go to sleep tonight and not wake up in the morning. It might be my last sleep. This is why we say it.”

And that brings us to the topic of Haitian prayers that almost always include thanking God for letting us sleep and also letting us wake up. Maybe I’ll save that topic for another post, si Bondye vle.

Creole phrase of the day:
A demen si Dye vle. (ah deh-min see jeh vlay)
See you tomorrow, God willing.

Creek in Haiti
FHM News

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