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  • Writer's pictureTonya Jewel Blessing

God Willing and the Creek Don't Rise

My mom, who was raised in the Appalachian hills, often used the phrase, “God willing and the creek don’t rise.” As a young girl, I assumed that the idiom was part of her childhood culture and understood it to mean that if all goes well then something good is headed my way.

However, while doing some research recently, I came across a different meaning for what I viewed as a whimsical saying. While president, George Washington summoned Benjamin Hawkins for an important meeting. Mr. Hawkins responded by saying, “God willing and the Creek don’t rise.”

Hawkins was not referring to a body of water but instead the Muscogee (Creek) Indians. The Creek were fighting to maintain their tribal lands. Skirmishes were commonplace. History presents Benjamin Hawkins in favorable and unfavorable lights. Some consider him an enemy of the Creek. Yet he had a common law Creek wife whom he insisted on marrying. History sometimes gives us a clouded perspective.

Like Benjamin Hawkins and the Creek people from long ago, we are living in a world of change. Things look and feel different than they did a few months ago. Wearing masks, social distancing, and isolating at home would have been novel worthy and not real life sixteen plus weeks ago.

My husband and I arrived in the U.S. the end of February with return tickets to South Africa on April 1st. Currently, the South African borders are closed to international travel, making it difficult to plan what happens next week or even next month.

Whether the saying is “God willing and the creek don’t rise” or “God willing and the Creek don’t rise” I do not know what tomorrow looks like. In this new norm, which hopefully is not our future normal, I am learning to express that since I do not know my plans that I cannot commit to things that I have no control over.

As a thinker, planner, organizer, scheduled person, it is frustrating for me to write things on my calendar in pencil with a question mark beside the notation. I remind myself daily that God holds my future. I am not in control.

“Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:24)


By: Tonya Jewel Blessing

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