Life-or-death situations can really bring out the best and worst in people. In today’s world of divisive rhetoric, the latest lightning strike is just a tweet away. Yet beyond humanity’s control, weather has a way of eroding every last sediment–or sentiment–of wishy-washy feelings away. A once-static autopilot deep within us immediately overrides our inner stationary fronts to rise or sink. Hopefully these are not the only times we come together for the right reasons, but it’s especially in these fight-or-flight moments, we find ourselves Rising Above the Storm.

In just the last few weeks in North America alone, countless good souls are persevering through Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and a Mexico City earthquake, all amidst the sixteenth anniversary of 9/11, and civil unrest and rioting. As I write, Hurricane Jose churns unpredictably out of traditional pattern, baffling meteorologists with unlikely meanders. Hurricane Maria just pounded Puerto Rico as a category 5, and the entire USA Southeastern seaboard is trusting their local meteorologists’ forecast that a high pressure system (see the blue H over North Carolina?) will chase the Hurricane Maria low pressure system away–way off our coast. I mean–even in our alphabet–the H chases the L, right?

These are the kinds of events that really bring people together. In a hyper-sensitive society ready to explode based upon one misspoken phrase or unintended innuendo–We need to extend these come-together moments to heal our divides; to weather our storms; to realize power(s) greater than ourselves.

What if everyone could feel like we were on the same team more often–even without inspiration from disastrous weather events?

Local and national news channels were flooded with unity themes and feel-good soundbites. During Hurricane Harvey coverage, I must have heard it a thousand times, in so many words: “No one is this-or-that kind of person. In this situation, we’re all just friends in humanity, performing random acts of kindness to help each other survive. How unbelievable!”

It IS unbelievable–That it seems like it’s only in these times where we truly celebrate: uniting; saying good things about fellow humans; performing random acts of kindness; donating money, time, effort, and energy to help a neighbor in need; helping a stranger; volunteering to serve a great cause; feeling patriotic; and realizing forces and powers greater than ourselves.

The beautiful thing about the #SolarEclipse2017 was that one unique weather event brought people together AND there were NO property damages, casualties, or fatalities. What if we could replicate THAT experience more frequently? What if when we DID come together, there were NO negative effects? I guess the real question is: What if we could eclipse our negative human nature in order to more frequently spread peace on earth and good will to others?

I’m fascinated by weather. As a former fifth grade science teacher in North Carolina and now a current K-5 STEM educator, I have purposefully invested years into researching abstract weather concepts to make our elementary student learning experiences more meaningful.

Outside of divine inquiry, perhaps the best way to weather storms in life and with fellow inhabitants on this third rock from the sun, is to be aware–to prepare ahead of time–Just like we would for a hurricane.

1–Check your radar.

There’s A LOT out there. While scanning every immediate detail, keep the big picture in mind.

2–Observe potential forecasts.

If incredibly educated meteorologists vary this much in their forecasts, then anything is possible. Be ready for anything. Especially because–unlike hurricanes–life storms may strike at any time, and without warning or explanation.

3–Prepare well in advance (if possible).

Due to the sheer size of hurricanes, we can see them coming for about two weeks in advance. We have considerable time to prepare. First, take care of home base.

4–DO the right thing.

If the storm is imminent; if you’re in the forecast cone of uncertainty; and if you have done all that you can do to prepare–Heed warnings to evacuate. If you must remain onsite, hold fast, and pray accordingly. Or–At least when opportunities arise to come together and help a neighbor in need, or accept help from others yourself–Do the right thing.