Yes, Brother Simmons read my post last night, and yes, we talked about it today. But I don't want to talk about that right now. Right now I want to talk about Jan. It turns out Jan had one last lesson to teach me.
This evening Lucy and I attended an informal memorial service for Jan at Kiwanis Park in Provo. It wasn't her funeral. That will be held tomorrow morning at her family's ward chapel in Alabama. Greg let me know that for his part I'm welcome but that their dad knows who I am and has made it clear that he doesn't want me within fifty miles of the funeral. I considered going anyway--from what I know of Jan's dad, he doesn't deserve to be at her funeral--but finally I decided I don't want to make a scene. No matter how much of a jerk her dad is, I'm sure he loves her and I can't even imagine how terrible he must be feeling now. I don't want to make it worse. I can pay my respects to Jan in my own way. So that's what I did tonight.
First, let me get the crappy stuff out of the way: As you may have seen on the news, there were protesters at the memorial service. Protesters. At a memorial service. I can't even begin to understand these people. They were standing around the edges of the park, holding signs that said things like "The Wages of Sin is Death" and "God Hates Freaks." Lucy squeezed my hand when she saw me fuming as we passed the protesters. "Just ignore them," she said softly. I did, but it still makes me sick to think about it.
Okay, with that out of the way, we can get to the good stuff: There were probably a thousand people there at the park, gathered to celebrate Jan's life (compared to at most fifty protesters). People had come from every corner of Utah, from St. George to Logan. Some came from Idaho and Nevada and Arizona. I talked to one guy who flew in from New York after he read about Jan in the news and was touched by her story. For about two hours, people stood on a stage and talked about how Jan has touched their lives. Most were people she had healed, but some hadn't even met her--they were mutants who were inspired by her to come out of the closet and use their powers for good. It seemed like most of the people had some connection with the LDS church, ranging from active believers to angry apostates. But every one of them agreed on one thing: The world needs more people like Jan.
The service ended with everyone there joining hands and singing a Mormon hymn, "Love One Another." As we sang the simple words, "As I have loved you / Love one another," our voices drowning out the noise of the protesters behind us, my chest trembled. I couldn't even finish the song before I broke down in sobs. Lucy put her arms around me, and then suddenly random strangers were joining in, wrapping me in a group hug. The outpouring of love from people I've never met was almost as overwhelming as my grief for Jan.
I've heard people say that God is love. If that's true, then I believe in God.