For various reasons I’ve made an effort over the years to eliminate God-talk from my everyday speech. I try not to make casual reference to God. For example, I don’t say “God bless you” or “Thank God.” If I hit my thumb with a hammer I may make a spontaneous exception.

And now I’ve found another reason to make an exception. When I run into people I haven’t seen for a while, they usually say something like, “So, I hear you’re having a baby!”

How to reply?

I can’t bring myself to simply exclaim, “Yes, it’s true.” The truth is Xy’s pregnant, and there’s some distance between being pregnent and giving birth. About nine months if all goes well.

So I’m more inclined to say something like, “Yeah, hopefully.” Or maybe, “If everything works out alright.” Or even, “If the Fates allow.”

But none of those really capture the spirit of what I’m at like this one: “If the Good Lord is willing.” Somehow that expresses what I’m feeling: hopeful, fearful, humbled by forces beyond my control, not taking anything for granted. I find myself saying it with a strange mix of utter sincerity and ironic detachment. And a smile.

  1. The arabic for that phrase is “Inshallah” and it’s used for everything in the future – i.e., i’m going to the store this afternoon, inshallah. or, the wedding is next month, inshallah. New Orleans will be rebuilt, inshallah. So if you want to obscure the ‘god-talk’ with a foreign language, that might be a good one to use!

    Also, congratulations!

  2. Or you could use the spanish version

    Si Dios quiere.

    If God wants.

    Of course when I learned to speak Spanish I thought that the Si was Yes. And it seemed a bit more emphatic and demanding.

    Or you could say

    Gracias a dios.
    Thanks to God
    Which I thought for years was Gracias Adios. Thanks Goodbye. I thought people were blowing me off.

  3. or you could say the judism phrases of “B’ezrat Hashem” [With God’s Help] or “Im Yirtze Hashem” [if god wishes it].

    BTW, with all due respect [so don’t take this wrong or as a smack down], you should have more hope/excitement here. Yes, things can happen [and by knowing it, you are more ahead of the game than most people you know], but you two are strong, grounded people who can handle anything [I mean look around you–this city, your house, the past, people you both know, teaching, burocracy, what have you… I could go on, but I’d be beating you both with the obvious here] that comes your way. Think about it, you & the Mrs. handle it daily and keep going while lots of other folks run around here run to the hills. What I’m saying is if the “God talk” is not up your alley, just tell folks “yes, thanks,” and be filled with/bask in their good wishes.

    If it matters, you got my good wishes.

  4. I, too, have dealt with such turns of phrase, so I’ve turned “God” into “gods”…I consider myself a boderline atheist/agnostic, but just in case, I figure the polytheists are probably closer to the truth. I don’t know about you, but I find more spirituality in the blossom of a flower than the in the idea of some old dude sitting in a chair casting judgment…besides it really does freak out the devout when you add the plural, while still agreeing with the sentiment.

  5. Life IS the will of God, whether you believe it or not. He’s given us all a conscience too. Call it what you want but your conscience recognizes that you and XY have been blessed with a spiritual gift…the gift of life.

  6. Congratulations again. I’ve started to think of myself as an “apathiest.” Whether or not god is there, it doesn’t seem to make any difference. It’s all on us. He seems content to watch us destroy ourselves without intervening. If he loves us, it appears to be “love” in the same sense that the term is used by an abusive spouse. Time to move to the Ronald McDonald House and get a restraining order.

  7. Hearty congratulations to you both! I have no problem noting that we’re all vulnerable to surprising twists and turns and that, while we believe we know what’s best, life has a way of choosing it’s own direction, sometimes painfully. The good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise is perfectly apt.

  8. Congrats!

    I usually say “gods.” Or “the universe” or “the all-good.” Although I swear like the proverbial sailor, I also try to refrain from saying things like G-dammit because I feel that is needlessly disrespectful to believers.

    And fwiw, I certainly don’t think it is anti-religious or a sneer to eliminate random “God-talk” from your life. I think it’s a little more respectful to believers than just using those terms as empty figures of speech.

  9. If the good Lord’s willing and the creeks don’t rise means
    things will go as plannned if it is God’s will. If the creeks don’t rise refers to a time when there were few bridges and people had to cross streams where the water was shallow.
    These places were called low water bridges or fords. They were fine in dry weather and the stream was low. But if there was lots of rain the depth of the water would make the stream impassable. For those who believe God is in control of the weather why not just say If be willing I will do this or that.

  10. Good Lord willing and the Creeks don’t rise, refers to the Creek Indian uprisings in the South during the early 1800’s and not a body of water.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>