I had a dream once. I saw myself standing alone on a rocky cliff above the ocean with wind and rain raging all around me, while the waves crashed high enough to almost reach me. I saw many shades of gray – the sky, the water, the leafless trees, even the cabin in the distance. All gray. The only color was my purple fleece jacket, getting darker as it absorbed more water from the rain and the ocean spray.

I just stood there, legs braced, feet actively pressing into the ground. I didn’t try to dodge or hide from the storm, but confronted it straight on – my face was turned into the wind and my tangled hair blew back. No shaking, no weakness. I was part of the stone mountain. The storm was all around, but I didn’t need to move. The sun would come out eventually.

And then I woke up. It’s been more than two decades since I had that dream, but the mental picture comes back to me again and again.
I see myself on that stormy cliff every time I hear the hymn, “How Firm A Foundation.”

I remember so much gray with a speck of purple when I read Helaman 5:12 –
Remember, Remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

I am reminded of my dream again when life is a storm…which means that for past couple of years, I think about it all the time.

Our entire world is in a hurricane of hatred toward people other than one’s chosen team. Fury and fear swirl around us constantly – anger about others’ choices that we disapprove, rejection of innate diversity such as the color of one’s skin or sexual orientation, cruelty and outright violence, an angsty desire to live in a bubble free from differing viewpoints…Some days (most days, if I’m being honest), I connect with the bubble plan. I want to lock up in my house with my husband and children and hide away with our books and fuzzy blankets, our art supplies and board games, and extra snacks. We do not want to encounter the hatred in the world.

But whether we want to or not, we must engage with it because hate, left on its own, continues to develop. Hatred cannot be “fought” in the metaphor of great battles, with swords dramatically wielded by ancient military battalions. It cannot be fought with today’s weaponry, people literally arming themselves with guns, guns, and more guns. Even the perception of fighting only feeds hatred more, helps it grow and makes it stronger because it pits person against person as enemies. Protection against hatred doesn’t work in a warrior mentality either – no bunkers or shields can keep it away, because hiding from hatred, anger, and fear also inexplicably enhance them.

Hatred can only be overcome by LOVE, and that doesn’t need a metaphor – it must be outnumbered and outmaneuvered by real-live basic action by real-live basic people. Protection against the storms of hatred is as simple (and as difficult) as filling our souls with love. The containers of our hearts cannot carry hate when they are overflowing with kindness and goodwill toward the people around us, especially people who have different patterns of behavior, different child-raising methods, different political opinions, different understanding of gospel principles, so much different.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminded us that everyone loves their friends and that’s not a big deal – the higher law is to love those who are rude and mean to you. I know it’s difficult to do that, which is why my all-time favorite scripture is Moroni 7:48 –
Wherefore, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the children of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure.

This protection of love is not something we have to generate within ourselves through sheer force of will. The Lord will give it to us when we ask for it, and that gives me so much hope. We can literally get on our knees and say, “I really don’t like that person. Please help me to see them and love them as You do.”

I know this works because I’ve done it.

I always imagine a massive ceramic pitcher above my head, pouring the living water of God’s love over me. This is not the time to get out an umbrella.

And then I get up from my prayer and put on my purple jacket, to go out into the gray of the storm and share the love of God. Love is the answer to protect from the storm, and it will also calm the storm. Sympathy and gentle answers to confrontational questions ease the winds of rage. Quart jars of hot chicken soup and plates of fresh cookies cut through the cold. Smiles and hugs light the path.

Here comes the sun. And here comes the Son.