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Hi, I'm Paul Sloth

I work in Outpost’s marketing department. I like to use what skills I have to spread the word about Outpost Natural Foods. On the greatest of days, this involves trudging through a farm talking with one of our many vendors. On really good days, this...
Paul Sloth

The healing power of food

In the Aisles
By Paul Sloth on August 7, 2012


For the past few weeks, a detour on my way home from work took me daily past the Sikh temple in Oak Creek. I didn’t know it existed. I’d never visited a Sikh temple (called a gurdwara) before and didn’t know that I ever would, but the thought crossed my mind.

I’ve long struggled to understand my own beliefs, so taking an interest in other religions, and the people who practice them (Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus), has, in a small way, filled the void.

Who knows what keeps some of us from getting to know people who don’t look like us or who practice religions different from our own — laziness, apathy, fear, a lack of understanding. For me, it’s usually a combination of apathy and laziness.

On Monday, August 6, I visited a Sikh temple for the first time. Unfortunately, it took a tragedy to get me there. I sat in the Sikh temple in Brookfield, Wis. along with hundreds of others who paid their respects to those who died in the temple in Oak Creek, Wis. on Sunday. For me, it was also an attempt to understand. 

Across the country, Sikh communities opened their houses of worship to anyone who was willing to enter. To me that seemed generous enough.

The surprise came at the end of the prayer service and candlelight vigil in Brookfield. The members of the temple had prepared a meal (called langar) that they shared with anyone who wished to partake.

Sometimes I take for granted what it is like to be on the receiving end of that kind of generosity.

Food is that peculiar thing that nourishes not only our bodies, but our souls as well. A meal shared by strangers is a powerful thing. For Sikhs, sharing a meal with friends, families and strangers alike is an integral part of their religious practice.

While it might take more than that to help the Sikh community heal from the recent tragedy here in Wisconsin, it certainly helped me to better understand. For that I will always be thankful.


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