This week I attended a memorial service for Jason Dobbs-Hyer. I didn’t know him very well but remembered from the short interchanges we had what a special person he was. I knew of him really more through Sid since the two of them shared a love of cycling which they would discuss at oneg at Ruach during the times that Jason and his son Izzy would join us for services.
What I did learn as I listened to person after person share their experiences about this exceptional young man was that the impression he made on me in the limited time I knew him was true – he walked closely with Yeshua and evidenced that by his very presence. I learned of his gift of giving of himself to others in so many ways, his inspirational daily messages on Facebook, his unconditional love of others, all others, his passion for life, good health, good living, deep connectedness not only to family, but also, to his communities. His life was made larger than any single life by his desire to help and encourage others, often in spite of personal challenges that he did not let stand in the way of these goals.
As a single father, despite his selfless life, he was always there for his son, providing to him not only a life grounded in serving others, but also, one steeped in faith. Jason possessed all of those attributes, and more. He was a man among men. His love of life only helped to further his joy in serving others.
History has shown that many generations before ours have felt the world was going to hell in a handbasket, or worse, that the world was ending in their lifetime. As a child in the ‘50s and ‘60s I grew up thinking the invention of the nuclear bomb could mean the end of the world with the touch of a button. That probably is not far from the truth. And yet we enjoyed life, each day a precious gift to be lived fully, inspired to make this world an even better place for our children.
Our society today faces new challenges, seemingly overwhelming, yet mankind has also shown its resilience and ability to adapt, invent, and solve or alleviate even some of the worst crises. At the heart of the stress and anxiety so many feel is an underlying sense of fear. As we know, fear is one of the greatest tools of the enemy. So many live in fear, and with seemingly good reason if you read the headlines. That which tries to steal our waking moments can consume our thoughts if we allow it – the economy, Covid, global warming, politics, poverty, violence – the list is endless.
Jason as a life coach and role model surely didn’t ignore reality. Rather, he hit it head on with the strength and knowledge that if he did his part to be a light to others, if he built a network of those who could see past the negativity and live lives of purpose, each day would overflow with abundance. Rather than focus on what was out of his control, he focused on the here and now. By overcoming fear, he fought to fulfill God’s purposes for him. Jason built not only psychological, emotional, and spiritual support for his immediate family, but also, for others by unleashing the power of community and extended family as his aunt’s transformative comments demonstrated. As Jason strengthened others, each strengthened the next. He showed us not only how to plan for the future, together, but also, how to bask in the present.
Most importantly, his faith was strong, for he knew and lived out the most important truth of all – when we have faith in God, when we live knowing that Yeshua is in it with us, each day’s blessings are countless. He fought for the joy and not only found it but showered it on those who were blessed to cross his path whether in person or virtually. His mere presence exuded the power of his faith as he brought Yeshua’s unconditional love into every interchange.
After the service that evening SpaceX had a launch which we can see from our backyard even though the Kennedy Space Center is about 3 hours away. I watched the take-off so clearly over the horizon reflected on the water, as the spacecraft with its long orange tail kept climbing higher into the sky. As it got smaller and smaller in the distance, from my perspective, it looked as if it had actually flown higher than the moon which was just a visual distortion. Nevertheless, the interesting illusion suggested to me that no matter the challenges, mankind seems to never lose hope. The perspective demonstrated the truth that with hope and perseverance we can accomplish the seemingly impossible. I guess SpaceX, itself, demonstrates that! And when hope is grounded in faith, even the sky isn’t the limit.
Thank you, Jason, for living such an exemplary life, for changing so many lives, for reminding us of what is important. Thank you for showing us what it looks like to walk so closely with Yeshua. You were taken from us way too soon, but you remain with us in the countless changed lives you awoke and nurtured. Just as you are now transformed, so are we who knew you, as well as those whose lives we touch.