The Circle of Our Affections

Two weeks ago I wrote about the famous social psychology study From Jerusalem to Jericho. Conducted by John Darley and Daniel Batson the study found that hurry and time pressure reduced helping behavior among seminarians on their way to preach a sermon about the Good Samaritan.

In case you missed it, in the comments of that post Julie shared a personal story that really moved me.

I've read Julie's story now to a few different audiences at church as an example of the Little Way of hospitality, an example of how through small acts of kindness we welcome people into the warm circle of our affections.

Julie's comment and story:
I heard of this study [From Jerusalem to Jericho] many years ago (probably at ACU) and was just telling a friend about it yesterday. I was reminded of it when I headed out in a snowstorm for my MSW class on death, dying and bereavement on Monday. My neighbor, an elderly Cambodian man with schizophrenia and terminal cancer, was walking to the bank and asked if he could accompany me. I knew it would make me late for class and keep me out longer in the storm, but I also realized that it was a good thing to do. We had a lovely chat and he sweetly bowed to me as we parted. I was late for class. The next day he died of a heart attack while receiving his chemotherapy treatment. I am grateful for our walk together.

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