“Si Dye Vle”

My friend Bo and I see each other pretty much every day, she’s Nadia’s cousin & she’s grown a lot on me. She’s changed from being aggressive to patient with me, speaking slower or explaining Kreyol phrases to me. A few days ago I casually tossed “Na  we demen!” (“See you tomorrow!”) her way  & she responded “Si bon dieu vle!”

I stopped. repeating the Kreyol phrase for “If God wants!”, making sure I heard her response right. She had her usual big smile on her face, replying “Wi!” I thought “Aw, how neat. See you tomorrow, if that’s what God wants!”

The same night I leave Juslaine with “a’ demen!” (tomorrow!) & she responds with something I hear all of the time, but have never picked up on. I’m just used to the voice influction/phrase, and I nod and go on my way. But this time I catch myself  – “Si Bon Dye vle?” (Asking her, did you just say ‘if God wants?’)

She smiled her sweet, motherly smile and replied “Si Dye vle.” – A phrase I’ve heard all over (but I never actually knew what the words were, or what people were saying), a shortened way of telling someone “If God wants.”

Over the next few days, I heard it all over. In our pastors meetings as plans were made, from the bosses working on our home, from women in market. So naturally put into plans,  “I’m going tomorrow if God wants” “I’ll be there at four if God wants” “On Sunday I’ll be at my friend’s wedding if God wants” I’ve been hearing it my whole five months here, but I never knew what I was hearing. It’s naturally put all over the place.

And while it’s so natural that people may be doing it from tradition, not even realizing – it moves me. It moves me because, as Americans, we are so on the opposite side of the spectrum. As a girl who loves to have control, even after constant reminders of how little I am and how BIG He is – I can be on the other side of the spectrum.

What if we could grab on to just a piece of this, even just the mindset behind it. We get irked if the pastor throws out a challenge to meet before next Sunday comes, we’ve got our own plan going on. Someone that we run into in need of nothing more than a person to just sit & listen makes us antsy as we go over our lists and what time it is and dinner plans in our heads. I was a 22-year-old fresh graduate with no cares for Haiti and my own plans to help people in MY way. We hold on so tightly to our lives, less than thrilled to offer chunks or ourselves or free time – let alone all of us.

And what a country to say this, a country where it’s so true. My plans are wrecked each day. And at the end of the day, I’m left with a prayer that has become constant, “God, thank you for taking over the schedule today.”

This is a country where just your basic trip to buy ‘provisions’ may get extended as you run into people you know. On the way, you may run into a friend who wants you to come see your house. You may find out about a large need and then not be able to buy everything you planned that day. Maybe you leave for market 2 hours late because as you were walking out of your door, an unplanned visitor walked through the gate. This is a country where I learned quickly that I just need to throw up my hands and say “Si Dye vle”.


Same message, new neighbors.

Matthew 6:31.

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’…”

I’ve heard this chapter about…100 times maybe? Probably more in references to other things or pep talks from my mom. But today was the first time I heard it in a small blue shack the size of my bedroom back home, sitting on a cinder block for a chair, sweat dripping at seven in the morning, and surrounded my mothers who are feeding their children once a day (or for some, once every other day).

So this verse kind of slammed into me today.

“…or ‘What shall we wear?’”

I went on to read this half of verse 31, and bit my lip as I looked up at Chelo and understood with the Creole that I know that he was connecting this to the gourde-stretching school uniforms that children need for September. As mothers nodded with both internal and verbal ‘Amen!’s – I heard them talk along with the pastor’s message (that’s not rude, that’s culture for a small church) about how they aren’t just clothes, they’re NICE clothes. Clothes that, if they’re too dirty or the shoes aren’t right, a kid can get sent home over.

And what really hit hard (for all of us, I could see with the raised hands and physical reactions): “Eske Papa’ou pa konna kisa ou bezwen?”

Translation: “Does your Father not know what you need?”

And it puts us back in our seats (funny expression to use since half of us were sitting on construction blocks), humbles us, puts two big hands on our shoulders and turns us to the great perspective again. He is so big, and we forget. He is in control, and I forget. As if we need to sing louder, as if our prayers need the correct religious language, as if the little boy in my arms at the hospital yesterday was MINE to fix while he has an eternal Father who knows WAY more about him and for him than I could ever hope to know.

And here I am, in the middle of a room of the people who really should be anxious. The people who, I know personally, are really not sure about if there’s going to be food to stretch for the whole family tomorrow. For the first time, associating this verse with survival instead of Americanized, surface-y, self-catering trust issues.

Who am I to worry about tomorrow?