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  • Added December 11th, 2015
  • Filed under 'All Sorts'
  • Viewed 1708 times


By Siosifa Pole in All Sorts

Waiting is a fact of life; because waiting is uncomfortable and uncertain, it requires patience, courage, hope, and trust.

TATALI PE, TATALI PE: WAITING, WAITING Tatali pe, tatali pe is part of a Tongan love song. It is a song that was composed about a young man who was waiting for a long time for his lover to come. It seems that his lover was somewhere else. The longer he was waiting, the more frustration and worry he experienced. He did not know whether his lover would come at all and if she was coming, he did not know the time. Waiting can be an uncomfortable state for a person to be in, especially if waiting for a girl friend or a boy friend to come. Because waiting is uncomfortable and uncertain, it requires patience, courage, hope, and trust. I remember arguing with my two daughters about putting up our Christmas tree at home. They wanted to put up the Christmas tree immediately on the first day of December On that day we came home late at night and they wanted to put up the Christmas tree. I told them that we could put it up on the following day. They argued that we should put it up on that night because we are in the month of December. I asked them this important question, "Can you wait until the following day?" They both replied, "No, we can't wait." They were both uncomfortable with the concept of waiting. For them, to wait is to increase their frustration and stress. Finally, they convinced me and we put up the Christmas tree on that night. We put it up because of their persistence and determination. Is it possible to wait? Can we wait?
Waiting is part and parcel of expressing patience and displaying endurance. It emphasizes the importance of time, and in particular the unknown time. We wait because either the time is not right, or the time is still yet to come. The concept of 'time' is vital to the urgency of waiting. Because of the vitality of time we need to know the definition of 'time'. There are two words in Greek that define the importance of time. These two words are 'kairos' and 'chronos'. 'Kairos' is usually referred to a fixed time and 'chronos' usually refers to an unknown time. For instance if we meet at 2pm then we have a fixed time and that is what 'kairos' means. There is a fixed time of this meeting. However, if we arrange the meeting for next week and with no particular time, that's what 'chronos' means. Waiting can be difficult when time is unknown and that is when tatali pe is required. Tatali pe doesn't give up on waiting, whether the time is known or unknown. The right time is God's timing, which requires an element of patience.
We are still in the Advent Season, which is a Season of waiting. We wait with worry, with frustration, with fear, with courage, with
patience, and with hope. Obviously, we have mix feelings as we wait. Whatever way that determines our feelings, it will certainly affect the way we wait. There are lots of things that we are waiting for. While many island nations in the Pacific are worried about the rising of the sea levels, they are waiting with hope for the outcome of the Climate Change Summit in Paris. They are waiting with hope that the powerful nations will make decisions that will minimize global warming. While war and violence are increasing in many parts of the world, there are ongoing conversations about peace and reconciliation. Surely, communities and families affected by these wars are waiting with hope that peace will finally be achieved. We heard two weeks ago from David Clark about the impact of poverty and lack of economic and social equality in our nation. He asked a question, 'Can we be generous?' I am sure many families who live under the poverty line are waiting with hope that opportunities will come on their way.
Waiting calls upon us to maintain our hope and trust in God who knows the unknown and what is best for us. The story in the Bible that reminds me of the importance of waiting is the story of Simeon in Luke 2:25-32. He was an old man who was waiting for the coming of Christ to liberate his people from their oppressors. His waiting was fulfilled when he saw baby Jesus, then he was ready to pass away. He was waiting with hope and it was fulfilled in the person and the life of a baby. God worked in a mysterious and impossible way to complete Simeon's waiting. I think the idea of waiting is real for us in our parish. We are waiting with fear, frustration, and worry because of the unknown future. Tatali pe reminds us that despite an unknown future, and the length of waiting, we still need to be hopeful, and faithful. We are hopeful because God - who knows the desires of hearts - will intervene and vindicate us. I wish you all a hopeful Advent as we wait for the birth of Christ.
Siosifa Pole