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WHAT'S IN A TATTOO?

by Anonymous last modified Nov 20, 2019 01:03 AM

Liliani put her father’s name on her wrist to honor him and to let him know that he may be gone, but he will never be forgotten. The tattoo is a remembrance of the unbreakable bond of love between a daughter and a father. On the other hand, the tattooed name of Liliani’s friend on the latter’s wrist is a piece of art and a symbol of their friendship. That’s what’s in a tattoo.

WHAT'S IN A TATTOO?

 

Honoring a loved one

 mavic

by Mavic Mercene

 Mavic Mercene, office staff of Columban Lay Missionaries (CLM)-Philippines for 27 years now.

 

Originally from the kingdom of Tonga, Liliani was assigned to the Philippines in 2015 where she studied a six-month-course on Cebuano language. Afterwards, Liliani was assigned to a chapel and to the Women’s Ministry of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro. Up until now, Liliani is still working in the Philippines. This is her story.

One morning, while travelling to her ministry in a jeepney. the driver asked if she was a foreigner. She said she was a local, but he did not believe her because of her accent. She told him she had been away for quite a while, hence, the accent.

The jeepney ride continued and he noticed the Columban logo on her t-shirt. “Are you a missionary?” he asked, and with quiet pride she said yes. “Why do you serve the Lord?” he pursued asking. She was taken aback for a while and said, once she gathered her thoughts, “because this is the right thing to do.”

After a few minutes of silence, he noticed and pointed at her right wrist and asked, “Is that a tattoo?” She nodded. Incredulous, he asked, “Why does a nice lady like you have a tattoo?” She looked at him perplexed, “Why not?”

The driver went on to say that he has always had a bad impression of girls sporting tattoos. In his opinion, such women are loose and not supposed to serve the Lord. “Yet here you are, a nice lady with a tattoo, serving the Lord.”

 liliani

Liliani (in red shirt) with other Columban missionaries

She saw that his arms, up to his shoulders were also tattooed. She asked him, “Why do you say that when you have tattoos yourself?” He said, “Oh, this is different. I can have tattoos because I do not serve the Lord.” “That is not true,” said she. “What difference does a tattoo make to a person?  What is important to the Lord is what is in one’s heart, not how one looks like on the outside. People judge by outward appearance. The Lord doesn’t see things the way we see them.”

After a long pause he said, “Now, I will never look at women with tattoos the way I used to. Thank you.”  And Liliani’s heart rejoiced.

Back in Tonga, tattoos are quite common among men but not among girls and women. When Liliani was in high school, she became close with a girl who was in the same class as her. As a sign of their newfound friendship, they vowed to have their names tattooed on each other. Young and foolish, the promise was just a halfhearted one, but when classes ended, and just before going back home, her friend dragged her along to see a tattoo artist.

Her friend went under the needle first, and had “Liliani” tattooed on her back. Reluctant, and afraid that her father might see it, Liliani had “Melania Waqa” inked on her right wrist.

After the death of her father, four of her brothers had their father’s name, “Sikifi”, tattooed on their bodies, and she followed soon after, when she missed her family, especially her father.

Liliani put her father’s name on her wrist to honor him and to let him know that he may be gone, but he will never be forgotten. The tattoo is a remembrance of the unbreakable bond of love between a daughter and a father. On the other hand, the tattooed name of Liliani’s friend on the latter’s wrist is a piece of art and a symbol of their friendship. That’s what’s in a tattoo.

 tattoo 

 

 

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