Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

March 5, 2012

” . . . if the Creek don’t rise.”

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

From a young boy to just recently, I have heard the expression ” . . . if the Creek don’t rise.”  Actually, I have heard the full expression “The good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.”

No, I didn’t misspell creek in the previous sentence.  That is the way I heard it most of my life.  Sometimes the first part was changed to “God willing.”  This is one of those expressions that is difficult to know what is the true rendering, and yet it doesn’t matter.  It was a way of saying an intent to do something, but circumstance might prevent it.

I confess that I always thought the creek was a reference to water.  That is, if the river doesn’t rise too high or the creek doesn’t flood so you cannot get across, then I will be there!  But some years back I was surprised to learn that was not the true meaning.

I don’t have to pursue the term “The good Lord willing . . . .”  We grasp that expression.  But did you know that “the Creek don’t rise” refers to the Creek Indians?  Many will argue that it does mean water . . . but I think that argument is based of the way it was used in areas where there was often flooding that would prevent someone coming for a visit or seeking to accomplish some task.

It is documented that the original expression “God willing and the Creek don’t rise” was coined by Benjamin Hawkins in the late 1700s.  He was asked by the President of the United States to return to the Capital.  Hawkins responded that he would come if “God willing and the Creek don’t rise.”

Hawkins was a politician and an Indian diplomat.  He was a well-educated man and deliberate in capitalizing the “C” in Creek.  Thus, one can assume he was not referring to water.  He was in the south part of our nation where the Creek Indian Nation was expressing anger and attacking innocent settlers.  Hawkins knew if there was a rise of attacks by the Creek Indians that he would be needed to seek to negotiate and suppress the uprising.  Thus, unpreventable circumstances would make it impossible for him to travel to Washington.  And the President understood what he was saying.

Regardless of the use of the expression, it communicates.  Whether it is “God willing” or “The good Lord willing” or “creek” or “Creek,” the intent is the same.  The person is making a commitment to achieve something.  The person is saying  they will accomplish a task if not hindered by outside forces or situations.

Most of us have that intent, but sometimes there comes along something that does hinder us from doing what we have committed to do.  A person of integrity truly means what they say.  They do not make empty promises, yet certain events occur that make it impossible to achieve that commitment.

With every intent to keep a commitment, sometimes  circumstances blocks the fulfillment of that promise. There are things that arise beyond our control.  I always smile when someone uses this expression.  I take it seriously . . . and it tells me something of their upbringing.  They probably had a grandmother or grandfather who exemplified honesty and integrity.

I have not got to worry about the Creek Indians . . . but I do need to be careful about commitments I make.  And I believe that I will hang my integrity more on the first part of the expression “God willing.”  Life under His control will make it possible to keep promises — especially promises made under His leadership in my life.

Our word should always be enough — no reason to swear you will do something — simply saying yes or no should be sufficient.

“Simply let your ‘Yes” be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,”No’.”  (Matthew 5:37)



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