Faith and Life: Collaboration is good for us

Collaboration. What does that word mean, exactly?

One definition is “to work together on a common enterprise or project.” I was at a conference this past weekend put on by Harvard University on Attention Deficit Disorder. We sat for hours listening to the latest research.

Doctors took the time to present this information to a group of about 250 medical doctors, psychologists, social workers and marriage and family therapists. One night on our down time, we walked around Boston, a city so rich with history.

We walked the Trail of Freedom and ate at America’s first restaurant, which Ben Franklin used to frequent. I felt an affinity with those who sacrificed so much for our freedom — true collaborators. I also felt an affinity with the individuals I dined with.

Our group that night consisted of individuals with a similar call to serve those with ADHD. In knowing one another, perhaps referring and sharing knowledge, we are collaborators called to touch this unique population.

What stands out to me as I write this is how very vital helping people is. It causes work places to run smoothly, it creates harmony within families and in homes, and it keeps churches from dividing. And yet, we have become a society that has a large population of autonomy.

Individuals in this day and age, specifically in the United States, can be very much likened to entities or islands. We have a propensity to keep to ourselves and focus on our problems, at times to the detriment of being people able to assist and succeed in life in unity.

This is so contrary to how we gained freedom in our country. It also diverges from what the Bible says. And it is psychologically unhealthy. We need each other; we are created for reciprocating relationships. We each have a unique niche that can bless another human being that has a deficit in that particular area.

I reflect upon a Mothers of Preschoolers group I spoke to this morning. These women come together with a commonality of having young babies or children. Having lived through that developmental stage myself, I know just how lonely, exhausted and isolated moms feel from the rest of the world as they raise their precious treasures.

This group meets to support, share resources and process this distinct developmental stage, much like we united in Boston this weekend. MOPS mothers feel sustained by being together — I felt a kinship with the medical doctors I shared dinner with.

In life, we will have similar calls and stages others have. Collaborating helps us to not feel alone. Reaching out, giving, receiving and sharing changes lives, moods, emotions and even our physical health.

And God created us for this — it is often our humanity that causes us to step outside that divine plan.

The Rev. KIMBERLIE ZAKARIAN can be reached by e-mail at or by mail at La Vie Counseling Center c/o the Rev. Kimberlie Zakarian, LMFT, La Vie Counseling Center, 650 Sierra Madre Villa, Suite 110, Pasadena, CA 91107.

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