Journalist Annia Ciezadlo has covered wars in Lebanon and Iraq. Her memoir, Day of Honey, offers an unusual take on what it’s like to live in the midst of a Middle Eastern war zone. Annia explains that whenever she travels, she also cooks “because eating has always been my most reliable way of understanding the world.”1
“We all,” she says, “carry maps of the world in our heads. Mine, if you could see it, would resemble a gigantic dinner table, full of dishes from every place I’ve been.”2 The title of her fascinating book is drawn from an Arabic phrase, youm aasl, youm basl, meaning “day of onion, day of honey.” The point of this rhyming Arabic phrase is that some days will be bad and others will be good. People use it to comfort each other, as though to say that a better day will come.
Our lives are also filled with days of honey and days of onion, times when life is sweet and when it’s anything but. Can we enjoy God’s peace in both good days and bad? Paul seems to say that the answer is yes. One translation of his words to the Philippians says, “I have learned the secret of being content” (niv).
I confess that I have yet to learn the unshakable contentment Paul speaks of. A day of onion can still transform my peace into discord. If you’re more like me than the great apostle Paul, join me today in praying for the grace to become content in any and all circumstances.
- Annia Ciezadlo, Day of Honey (New York: Free Press, 2011), 8.
- Ibid., 7.