Neg di san fe; Bondye fe san di.
Haitian Proverb of the Week
Man talks without doing; God does without talking. meaning, God does what He needs to do without a lot of fuss, but people often talk a lot with no action.
This proverb doesn’t necessarily pertain to anything particular that happened this week but it caught my eye. I describes encounters many of us have had with ‘man’ I think. People many times have great intentions, promising to do this or that but then life gets in the way. Work and meetings and school and sports events and a number of other activities and distractions happen and promises are forgotten or delayed. It is easier to talk about doing something than actually put your foot to the pavement and doing it. I have been guilty of this before for sure. And like most people I have been a ‘victim’ as well. I remember during my time living on an island in the Pacific I told someone about how I longed for comfortable chairs again as all I had was a hard, old chair from the school where I taught. A friend of this someone heard about my discomfort and began detailing plans to send me a couple fold up chairs, the kind people use when watching a kids sports game. Weeks passed, then months, a year. No chairs. Was I mad at the person? No. I figured they forgot or got distracted. Was I disappointed? Absolutely. I was expecting something they spent so much time talking about and planning for and then was left with nothing.
God on the other hand, God just does it. There are no great announcements. He doesn’t explain His plan in detail to those around Him before setting it into action. But he makes it happen. He blesses us without informing us beforehand.
I have learned over the years that it is very important we watch what we say when it comes to promising to do things. The one who would benefit from the action remembers the promise of the action and may come to depend on it or look forward to it. I promised the kids Converse sneakers over the summer. If I had come back empty handed I can guarantee the disappointment would be overwhelming and they would not easily forget that promise broken.
Many people I have met in Haiti remember the promises others have made to them. We promised to search for an accordion for a neighboring pastor. He asks me about it at least once a month. We promised 15 children from Godet to help them complete their education. I know their parents put a lot of weight behind that promise, trusting in us to support them. One thing I am very careful to do here is not to promise too much. Or even saying maybe. Maybe is as good as yes with some people I speak with. I am trying to ‘do’ more than I ‘talk’, blessing people without announcement, as God does. And not just in Haiti; wherever I God leads me I hope to follow his example of doing.