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By Heather Herrick

1. The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.

I remember learning the definition of this word from my freshman writing teacher, first year, first semester at BYU. She had us write. A lot. Every week we read, wrote responses, journaled, worked on ongoing writing assignments having to do with research and did some creative writing too.

I was happy in her class and happy writing. In fact, it may have been the only class I really felt happy in that first semester. The reality of going from high school where I served on student government, played in the orchestra, sang in the choir, and excelled in my classes to a huge University where Biology 100 met in a massive auditorium, the teacher used a microphone and I was averaging 70% on my tests despite hours of study put me into a personal funk and intorduced me to the first tastes of mild depression.

The journals for my writing class often served as an outlet to share my struggles, but also a place to write some of the funny and happy things I did each week. It just so happened that my writing teacher was the mother of one of my best friends from high school. This friend and I still managed to get together weekly and play, despite the fact I was living at home and she was living it up with new friends and lots of dates in the illustrious Heritage Halls. Without missing a beat she had transitioned into college life and had her social circle in full swing. I would have felt jealous, but her generous spirit had seamlessly included me in this new circle.

As I wrote one week about what it meant to me to have a friend like her and how amidst the stress of College Algebra labs and 7 a.m. Health lectures we had created some hilarious memories her mom wrote a note back to me on one of my entries.

” I know she cherishes your friendship as well. You two have synergy. The sum of the two parts is greater. 1 + 1= more than 2.”

I have tried to collect more friends like that as I have moved along in life. Cheri’s editorial article Better Together reminded me how that is the way the Lord intended this life to be. We can do more, feel more, be more when we work together, live together, play together.

Segullah has been that for me as well. I am more because of these women I work with and I feel we contribute much more together than we ever could apart. What a beautiful relationship! The Summer issue online, like Cheri said, is definitely “better together”. If you haven’t had a chance yet, I hope you’ll go read it and enjoy it.

Before or after you do that, tell me about what kinds of synergistic relationships you have in your life. How do you find and keep them?

About Heather Herrick

Heather currently lives in the center of the universe (she’s not being egotistical, it’s true—ask any other New Yorker). She loves NYC, but misses the mountains of Utah where she grew up. Heather and her husband are glad that the baby from her poem now sleeps alone; baby two spoils her mama by having the cutest dimple ever, and hopefully will not become a kicker like her sister.

7 thoughts on “syn·er·gy”

  1. The hardest part of being a SAHM is the isolation that can come if you let it. I am a bit of a homebody, but when my husband was getting his MBA from UCLA, there were about 5 or 6 graduate student families that lived in our apartment complex or nearby, and went to the same ward. We "played" almost every day at each others apartments, or on the playgrounds on the grounds at our complex. When we left that experience, I knew what I would miss the most was the friendships I had cultivated with those women. There would never be another time like that for me.

    Now that my children are older and some in school, some in preschool, and one at home, there are so many other commitments that it is hard to get together with friends… but some of us are pretty active on Facebook, and it is fun to pop on periodically throughout the day and see a comment one of them has posted on my wall, or to give each other flair, or any of the other crazy things we have done. It seems like a weird thing, but I am so much happier now that I am a Facebook mom. No, we aren't neglecting our children (at least not too much!), but it is nice to have these little boosts throughout the day to keep us going!

  2. Ginger, living in New York we need each other so much just to do the basics. I often feel that if and when we leave here it will be difficult to create the same kinds of friendships that I have been so blessed with. The kind that come and watch your kids in the middle of the night if necessary, since family's not around.

    Michelle L. I also remember thinking that synergy would be a nice way to gauge whether or not relationships with guys were worth pursuing. If I'm not more with him than I can be on my own . . .eternal work worth doing? Probably not.

  3. I have enjoyed the synergy I have shared with many many people in m'life.

    Particularly the synergy I have enjoyed with the kind, patient, talented and loving author of this post!

    Thanks for the thoughts!

  4. I have often encountered it with friends. Being a very relational people person. I thrive on this. It is often other people that inspire my painting series. Often very randomly, but it's that synergistic energy that sends me into a painting spree. I love nothing more than my relationships that yield sums greater than two I count this as one of life's delightful treasures!

  5. I echo Nathan's comments and have immensely enjoyed the synergy I've felt with the CVKs. (you know who you are!) This is a concept I introduce to families that I'm working with as a family therapist. In times of trial often times the families I work with all go to their prospective corners and lose the power that can be found in coming together.
    Thanks for this thought Heather! I miss you. . .terribly. . .


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