Thursday, June 20, 2013

si bondye vle

**I wrote this post several weeks before we left Haiti, so it's probably a month old at this point. So if you get the impression I'm currently in Haiti as you read it, that's why. We are still in the US and will be for a while.

Si Bondye vle is a phrase that is heard often in Haiti. It means If God wills, but the literal translation is if God wants. I remember talking to my small group about using the phrase "If the Lord wills it" at one point several years ago. We agreed that we should recognize that our plans can be changed by God at any moment, but we also felt that using the phrase Lord willing all the time seemed a bit, um, well, over the top.

Living in Haiti has given me a different perspective though. It seems that what we plan rarely happens. Unexpected events occur so frequently that the phrase si bondye vle isn't over the top at all. It's reality.

When our nanny/housekeeper leaves for the day and I say "see you tomorrow" she responds with a cheerful "si bondye vle." She knows that any number of events could happen to prevent her from coming.

When my students ask me when we will visit Haiti or when we return to live here again, I can give them my hopeful timeline but I have to include an emphatic si bondy vle. Because, really that is the only way we'll be back in Haiti within a few years.

In the U.S. it's easy to live as if I have control over my life, but living in Haiti requires me to recognize that I am not in control.

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