Peb Jackson on Emptying Yourself and Blank Spots on the Map #175
My guest, today on Work Life Play, is Peb Jackson. Peb is uncommonly attracted to risk and survival. Today at age 75, it remains true-it’s in his bones. In our interview, we talk about learning to empty yourself, living an adventurous life of the heart and in wild places where blank spots on the map still exist, alongside his book, Danger Calling, True Adventures of Risk and Faith.
I first met Peb in the flesh in the circle drive at a billionaires club on the Big Island of Hawaii. Neither of us qualified for membership, our buddy, lifestyle ambassador, and visionary land developer vogued for us and suggested that Peb and I ride together “don’t believe all of his stories” was the farewell warning. I was mesmerized “In the Sierra’s” started the enchanted tales of navigating high places.
It is impossible to journey with Peb and not hear this ancient passage about “He” who strides across the alpine ridges.
“He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth – the LORD God Almighty is his name.”Amos 4:13 NIVUK
Our coffee conversation in 2017
Peb Jackson sound bites from a conversation we had over an espresso back in 2017. I captured these bits in my journal to revisit in longer form in this podcast on learning to empty yourself and finding blank spots on the map.
“I’m uncommonly attracted to Risk & Survival.”
“Adventures are better contemplated after than during.”-Peb Jackson
About His book Danger Calling
Sacrifice. Perseverance. Courage. Leadership. These are the qualities that make a man great, that lift him from an ordinary existence into an extraordinary one.
Through sixteen true stories of daring and adventure, Danger Calling challenges you to discover if you are living out God’s game plan for your life. From the depths of the sea to the top of Mount Everest and everywhere in between, this high-adrenaline ride confronts you with provocative questions such as:
Would you stop to help a climber in the Death Zone on Everest?
What is your source of strength in a crisis?
Could you lead others into battle knowing some will die?
To what challenge is God summoning you right now?
How much are you willing to risk?
Each story will thrill you. Each set of questions will challenge you to discover who you are, where you stand in your faith, and whether God is calling you to experience greater risks and deeper meaning. Whether you tackle this journey on your own or use Danger Calling as a guidebook for your group of fellow adventurers, you’ll find your life and faith transformed. (Source: Baker Publishing Group)
About Peb Jackson
Peb Jackson is the principal of Jackson Consulting Group, assisting clients including Saddleback Church, Focus on the Family, Young Life, CURE International, and Greater Europe Mission with public policy, development, public affairs, strategic mission needs, media, mentoring, and private sector initiatives in Africa. He is the coauthor of A Dangerous Faith. Peb is a regular adventurer, leading trips around the world, with many more tales yet to be told. He lives with his wife, Sharon, in Colorado.
Transcription of my interview with Peb Jackson
AARON: What you told me in February, 2017 was that you’re uncommonly attracted to risk and survival. So how is that true for you today at age 75?
PEB: Well, when you are in a sense called to that, I mean there’s, I don’t know that it’s a siren call, but it’s a call. Like you read something in books. I can remember reading Tarzan books and they were fascinating to me. Then I moved into other things that had to do with risk and exploration, things like that. I remember reading about an Explorer from England who was going to the Antarctic. He put an ad in for men wanted, but the key was deprivation cold, return doubtful. And, and I thought, what does that mean, what does that really mean?
But from my Quaker background, and from Kansas, being far removed from anything like that, but still hearing stories about it, for some reason, God put in me a responder to those kinds of things. And the last thing my dad would take us to Colorado. One time we climbed the Northface cable route of Long’s Peak and I was just a little guy. It was thrilling. Lightning bolts, everything. Then somebody said there’s some climbers on that diamond face which was 2000 foot vertical.
So I inched my way out there and I looked around at it and there’s clouds swirling and a shock went through me like an electric shock. I remember thinking as wild as that was, that’s where I wanted to be someday. Yeah. I like that as well. That’s where I want to be.
AARON: I see the light in your eyes actually ignite and brighten up. So we’re right now in our 1974 VW bus mobile studio, and the curtains are largely drawn, but there’s a little bit of sunlight coming in and it actually isn’t because of that light. It’s the light in you.
AARON: Well, I told you that I reached out to a couple of your friends or a couple of our mutual friends and asked them questions about what to ask you today. Which is super cool. A number of them replied over texts. You know, like I mentioned to you too, when we were offline here with a down battery I’ve had internal talk about connecting with you in this way and just a sense of wanting to capture this moment in time in your life as a fellow brother and adventurer.
PEB: You mean you were stalking me?
AARON: Yeah. Something, yeah. It means a lot to me to be actually here with you in the bus and having it be in the story of adventure. So, I guess the part that I’m curious about if you’d start with is tell us just about how there’s this fusing for you, of life with men and adventure in physical form, in mountainous territory, and then adventure of the heart and how those have all become weaved together for you.
PEB: Well, who knows where it started because there’s so many different little things. Little sparks. When I was a kid, when I was running a tractor before I was 13 on a field all day long. Kansas is flat as all get out and you start out it’s hot, there’s not a cloud in the sky. Sometimes there’d be a little rabbits, little bunnies that would be running and I would tie that driving wheel down and jump off timing it so they wouldn’t get pulled under the plow. Think about that, and then get the rabbit and jump back on. I just remember this, something about that, even though it was risky, that just fueled me.
There was a little bit of fear. My climbing partner used to call me up and say, pebble, let’s go get scared. And so when you have that, you’re starting to get fueled by those stories and by that idea then you have to feed the beast. I mean essentially you want to go out there not to get scared necessarily and not to risk your life on things, but you wanted to be in that world, in that atmosphere, which enhances your feeling about life, enhances your love of life.
So I always felt like in a lot of reading I did of mountaineers and adventurers, is that what happened to them? Just being there, fueled them right up over the top.
AARON: It reminds me of, I won’t get the quote exactly correct, but it’s the glory of God is man fully alive. Who said that quote?
PEB: And that’s a correct quote. I can’t remember who it was. Or when I run, I feel his presence.
AARON: Yes, Chariots of Fire, yes.
PEB: And all those things. Yeah, I remember I did the Leadville 100 bicycle ride one time and Carl Yarbrough did it like two hours faster than I did it. And when he finished, he said he had absolutely, totally nothing left. And that’s kind of the way I felt. And I thought, man, those are the kinds of people I want to be around. Somebody who knows how to totally empty themselves.
And I was around people like that, not from a risk perspective or even adventure, but knew my father and other people who basically in reference to their faith, emptied themselves. You know, they were missionaries or they lived a life of giving, and it was so attractive. My dad lived a life that was so attractive that I wanted to be like him. I wanted his faith. I wanted to have what he had. I was fortunate. A lot of guys, and a lot of girls don’t have it, have that kind of a background.
AARON: I love this idea of looking at people who empty themselves.
PEB: Yeah. And how to do that and who weren’t afraid to do that. Yeah.
AARON: So what is it that you’ve discovered, what does it mean to empty yourself? What keeps people afraid?
PEB: Well, I think as Confucius say, “the longest journey begins with the first small step.” So the journey of extending yourself, of putting yourself in mysterious places outside of your comfort zone, you know, the fear of the unknown, the fear of doing something that might be risky and might be damaging in some way, it might be irresponsible, you know and I just have to say for some reason I was always attracted to that rather than like, okay, let’s go be here responsible.
And you know, the conundrum is that a lot of people lose their lives doing that. And so I, I haven’t really sat down with a therapist and figured this out. I do think that for some reason a lot of guys, a lot of people are attracted to it. I mean, you know, that the Into Thin Air story, where seven people were killed. After those people were killed, it was front page news and applications for climbing went up like two or three times. So even though people are killed there is something magnificent about that. And even in scripture, I mean, Jesus went into the wilderness. There’s something about the wilderness that he went into. I’d like to ask him about that.
What was it, and why there, what does the wilderness actually mean? But I don’t feel it’s antithetical to a life of deep faith. It enhances life and enhances my faith. And that’s why I wrote this book. Hardly any books I may have, and I perhaps have 200 books on risk, on performance, on exploration, and hardly any of them mentioned God at all or faith. But I know a lot of them, they have something that happened to them that leads them into the throne room of the heavenly father. But for some reason they just, publishers just haven’t done that. So that’s one reason why I’ve put this together.
AARON: And say more about that because you’ve spent decades and decades of your life inviting people into the wilderness. And what I remember you told me when we had coffee was that you were doing it already and you just said, well, come along, like, come join me and that, but you’ve spent, I mean hundreds and hundreds of trips like that, right? All over the world, inviting people of all walks of life, all levels of influence, you know, small nun to gigantic to faiths to age to everything. Right. So what are some of the observations that you’ve had of how wilderness is a disruptive force?
PEB: I think there beats in the heart of a man, and many women, desire for adventure and maybe a desire for risk. Frankly, I think that’s why some guys get into, or go off the rails with an affair or something they want. They want to do something that brings that sense of a thrill or excitement or risk. So I’ve just assumed that I’ve taken people on ridiculous trips who had almost no reason to go. They didn’t know anything about it. I took a guy one time to the Seychelles. We were some of the first people that ever went to the Fe Seychelles for saltwater fly fishing. This guy was like six, eight, and we lived on a liveaboard catamaran.
He had never cast a fly and he cut over a hundred bonefish. He still tells me it’s one of these great experiences. So I think there’s something, it doesn’t have to be somebody who’s equal in experience to you with somebody. I think I’ve prayed that the Lord would lead me to people like that and who maybe it was something that they really wanted to do but didn’t know how to do it. And I was just a guy who came along and offered them wild possibilities as we say.
AARON: Yeah, I love it. So a couple of your buddies, I reached out to you. One of them wrote back, “So Aaron, I’ve been on many adventures with PEB where Amos 4:13 was quoted,” which I’ll read here in a second. And the question is, “I would love to hear him unpack this one. So the message translation of Amos 4:13 says, look, who’s here? Mountain shaper, wind maker. He laid out the whole plot before Adam. He brings everything out of nothing like Dawn out of darkness. He strides across the Alpine ridges. His name is God, the God of the angel armies. So unpack that for us.”
PEB: You know, I’d forgotten that message version says angel armies. So the other version is, “he who forms mountains, creates the wind, reveals his thoughts to man.” Even occasionally Aaron and PEB, “he turns the dawn to darkness and treads the high places of the earth. The Lord God almighty is his name.” Sharon gave that to me when I was doing a lot of climbing and mountaineering and she told me she didn’t give it to me for several weeks because she was afraid. She said, I didn’t need any encouragement to be out there more than you already are.
But I remember when I first started quoting, and I thought, I mean, this verse says so much of it he who forms the mountains, and by the way, this is all present tense. This isn’t he who formed or he who reveals you’re, it’s not past tense, so it’s present tense. It’s a God who’s here now. He’s not just a God of Israel. So that meant a lot to me to know that it’s present. He who reveals, he commits to revealing to us if we, if we’re open.
That meant a lot to me. Of course. I mean, I started quoting in a high Sierra and the the peaks of the high Sierra like my favorites, Mount Whitney mass CIF with with a lot of the other peaks around there. And I could see, I could sense that the heavenly father was striding the high places, the ridges and it just bolded me. It gave me a sense of okayness for what I enjoyed doing and where I got so much great satisfaction. Even on a golf course when I was looking up and seeing the peaks and I said, Oh, PEB not again. Good grief.
AARON: Well, yeah, but it’s right. There’s somehow, it’s like the song of your heart echoed in ancient texts about the experience you have. Right. And that helps name and shape. I find a lot of times that other people don’t have language to describe their experience and that, you know, ancient scripture like this just helps people name why is this such a transformational experience for me to be in such an unusual place.
PEB: Great point. That is, I think. was one of my issues for some time is how do I really get something out of my center, out of my bones that I feel so deeply? But how do you articulate that? I never felt like I was an articulate person, but I love to read great quotes and prose that opens you up. And the Bible’s the best at that. And so I think it felt like I was drawn to it to be even more articulate if I could be about my own experience.
AARON: As I’m listening to our conversation, what I’m thinking of is even Eugene Peterson who was responsible for the message translation of what we just read. And I listened to a podcast that he was on with Krista Tippett on being before he died.
One of the things that he said and it was that the scriptures are poetry and song and he said everyone needs more beauty in their life and that there’s this. So it was, I loved how he invited it cause it was like, listen, if you approach it as just like a history book of rules or know do’s and don’ts, it’s not that, it’s like, it’s actually the human experience, it’s the human experience. And so much of it’s actually in song and poetry and touch and, yeah. And like these, how do you describe the unexplainable, indescribable, well, we do our best
PEB: And the point with Eugene was it what helped him express it even more was he was out in it. What I found out from an adventure perspective, I love going to blank spots on the map. I would look and the Brooks range in Alaska or Patagonia or the Indian ocean. I love going there, but most people can’t do that. So I love the idea of portraying for those of us who’ve done things I like that, that they don’t have to do that to get that fix or that understanding or that awe, they can just go outside, you know, go through a park, pause, think, relax, breathe. And so I’m a big fan of just doing something.
AARON: Yeah, me too. That’s again where I think we’re brothers. You’re my older brother in that adventure.
PEB: Yeah. And so it’s, yeah, because I think a lot of books on adventure are written for a person who can do things of radical nature. And I think in some ways I’m more interested in helping people experience maybe just a modicum of that, just a fraction of that, but yet almost feel the same way I’m made and something more radical.
AARON: So the last two weeks I’ve been, during the work I do with groups, and this week was in Santa Cruz, California and took a group in to the redwoods and it was just an hour, or hour and a half in total. And we sent them out with this workbook that we curated and kind of these reflections. The workbook topic was kind of on purpose, like on what brings us energy, what brings us alive, what, and concluding we ask these questions in the workbook about if you’re finding yourself at your 80th birthday party, who would the friends be that would be in the room?
Who are the people most meaningful to you in your life? And then what speech would you give to those friends to talk about the seminal moments in your life of decision and tradeoffs that you made, that, how did you become the person that you became? So I know you’re five years from that, from that birthday, and you just had 2,500 friends gathered. So I’m sure you gave a speech. So tell us a little bit about your, well, your reflections.
PEB: First of all, I was asked to say something I wasn’t asked to prepare. So when I was thinking, my first words were hey I’m just to sinner saved by grace. And then pointed out my brother and my sister and a few other people like that. But when I was driving over here, I was thinking about years ago, probably 30 or 40 years ago when I was in California and I spent a lot of time up in Berkeley and the juxtaposition at Berkeley at that time as a free speech movement. And then it was all the, I mean, relatively normal kids, a football team members.
And there was a football player who was very popular who died when he was a senior, I believe it was a senior. And he had his friends come into his room on his last days and just wanted him there and they all wanted to be there. I can, I can bet you that bottom dollar that they all never forgot is one of the seminal moments in their life. So I thought about that. What do you say? I’ve thought about that now when I can’t do what I used to do. So do you just live in the past?
Do you sit in an easy chair and put your memory banks to work and just think about all the past things? I haven’t gotten to that point yet, but I thought that a part of life is being, is coming to a conclusive point that it’s okay not to do those things anymore. It’s okay just to be there, to be in a presence. A friend of mine who’s going through hellacious stuff, a public figure said that in preparation for this, he was reading the Bible as a narrative. He’d read for two and a half hours and what he feels down when he goes into anything that would be where it would it, would freak you out or freeze you up, is he knows who walks with him. And then that’s enough.
I was thinking to a certain degree, all of this stuff that we do, whether it’s adventure, whether you don’t even know any kind of adventure that you and I might know that the reality is that they come to the, what I call the sq factor, this satisfaction quotient, that what does bring satisfaction, that feeling of not just achievement, it’s not really achievement into faith. It’s a sense of the present. It’s a sense of you’re being a child of the King. You’re blessed to be aware of that and to believe it so deeply that it a, is a part of the air that you breathe.
So I think for me to answer your question when I’m 80, there’s nothing like having a bunch of friends around and you might not even be talking about powerful, poignant things. Maybe part of it is, Hey, what are you doing now? What are you thinking? What do you still want to do? What’s still on your, on your pad before you’ve finished the runway? And, and I think about that. I think that maybe there’s a normalcy to the whatever end of life means cause none of us really know when that’s gonna happen.
But the normalcy is normal. I’m not I don’t think you’re gonna all of a sudden become more eloquent about life. I think it’s the peace that passes understanding. Then I would be in a position where yeah, hey, I know life is an informed me man. What a ride. I mean thank you. And then, and then make sure that people who are around me understood the gratefulness and I live with, and that they in their own way would live with the same thing.
Gill McCormick Friend of PEB on Phone:
Probably the one of the most delightful things about, he’ll call me from all over the world. He’s called me from fancy dinners at the white house. He’s called me from embassies around the world. He’s just recently called me from the Congo. You just never know and when PEB would pop up and in my life, and it’s always a delight. So I’ve never met a person who looks you right in the eye and makes you feel like you are the most important person in the world. And so for me PEB taught me to really be present with people and to be inspired by people and to really dig into, to people and find out what makes them tick. And that would be Peb Jackson.
AARON: One of the questions that our friends asked is how is it that you make us feel like your best friend and the most important person in the world when we’re with you?
PEB: Oh, well, you know, that’s something, it’s pretty powerful.
AARON: That’s the summary of what it’s like to be with you.
PEB: So I’m more aware of people saying that. I haven’t felt a need to just really spend too much time on it. I don’t want to think too much about myself. One reason I have talked about some of these things very much is I just don’t want to be preoccupied with me. I knew a guy one time who I thought, you know, he spends 24 hours thinking about his image. You know, there’s just that, that’s narcissism, right?
AARON: I think that’s some of the beauty of these questions is that your friends and these are guys that are close to you. Some of it is just the curiosity out of the admiration we have for you as an observation of the humility that you live with and you operate out of. Oh. But one of the gifts is to also understand if peeling back a layer a little bit to say, Hey, I don’t want to think too much about this and you know, stare into my own mirror. However, on reflection, here’s some things that I walk with that enabled me to be the man that I am.
PEB: Yeah. Well I have been able to dissect it a little bit. If you’re with somebody who helps you open up, like you’re doing here, you’ll remember that time and it’ll be a sweet memory. So I think that’s, for some reason God gave me that curiosity and I think a lot of that is from my father. I mean, it was deeply curious about everything. I’m deeply curious about everything and especially what makes people tick and, and everything. So that’s a part of it. And you know, this, you’re good at this and that is, is the ability to ask questions.
That curiosity alone, curiosity is only one thing, but, what do you think about in reference to questions? And I, early on started before I went in to see people. I would think of what questions I wanted to ask him. Sometimes I’d write it down, but I would think about that. I wouldn’t wait for the moment. I would be thinking ahead. And I think that’s a little thing that I’ve tried to do over the years, over the decades. And then the other thing, maybe the third thing, there’s public 15 things, who knows? But the third thing I would say is that there’s no substitute for being a reader, not just curiosity, but being a reader, understand what’s going on in the world.
And at least you don’t have to just watch television every day, but just being in a year and having an insatiable appetite for words. And my dad was that way, we had books all over the house and everything, and he was, and we’d take holidays to the West. My dad would take college students along the Lewis and Clark expedition and camp out and read from the Journals. I mean, can you imagine that?
AARON: I mean, going back to like Merryweather post! To the original journals of Lewis and Clark come on in the place where they were written.
PEB: Right. And students who didn’t even like history said it became their favorite subject because it still is alive right now. So my dad had that ability and to put perspective on it, I have an incurable positivity about life. I think God gave me that gift early on.
AARON: I love it. Thank you.
PEB: You’re welcome.
AARON: I love watching you too. Just even I guess I’m watching you is, even as you’re talking, you’re mining it, you’re in it. It’s really a gift. I feel like I can be here on behalf of us, your friends, others and have a conversation that will be really meaningful, hopefully both to you, to me and our friends that we get to share it with.
PEB: Yeah. Let me just say one thing about that. I want to say, Hey, I love you. I want to be here if you need me. But I want to know how you’re doing. So I think there’s a plus positive factor that’s, that’s contagious.
AARON: Yeah. And I think that’s your insatiable curiosity, your intentionality. Back to that question of how is it we can be with you and feel like we’re your best friend. And I also find you to, to be I just call you undistracted. Like when I’m around you. Like every time I see you, you’re talk, you’re with somebody and you have a way about what I observe you with them or when I’m with you, you’re actually fully present
PEB: Zeroing in on you.
AARON: Yeah. So what’s the, what’s the skill of that or the choice in that and how can people learn from what you know
PEB: So you developed practices, and one of them, a lot of people develop when they’re in a group is just looking over the shoulder at somebody. And let’s see who else is here. I mean, who else can I talk to? There’s maybe more, I mean, what you’re communicating is you’re looking for somebody who’s more interesting than I am.
And I’ve learned that early on because somebody told me about somebody who I knew, let’s say that his name was Jack and he was always looking over the shoulder to see who else was there. And I remember they said, Peb, don’t ever Jack me. I’m sure that somebody who would listen to this or somebody who was in this bus could say, you did that for me twice. I will never forget it. So, and that’s what you kind of live with. Cause you know, you’re not in heaven yet.
AARON: Everybody makes mistakes. But that’s a practice you go back to?
PEB: Yeah. I think about it a lot. And I think a little nudge, maybe a divine practice to zero in on whoever. And you can always say, Hey look, I got to go, or I’ve got two or three other things I’ve got to do. But it’s been great talking to you. I hope to do it more
AARON: For today’s into the wild podcast segment. I want you to hear my friend John Dale read a poem by David Whyte on the topic of friendship and specifically about being seen and having a witness as a friend. I think it integrates perfectly weaves into our conversation that we’re having today with Peb Jackson. Hope you enjoy,
Into the Wild by John Dale:
But no matter the medicinal virtues of being true, threatened, or sustaining a long close relationship with another, the ultimate touchdown of friendship is not improvement, not either of the other nor of the self. The ultimate touchstone is witness the tribulation of having been seen by someone and the equal from age of being granted the sight, that essence of another to have walked with them and to have believed in them. And sometimes just to, as a company then for however we’ve spent on a journey, impossible to accomplish alone.
AARON: So I have another question from one of your friends you wrote. There are few people who experience physical suffering as deeply as Peb. Few are aware of it. He loves life and beauty and God in the face of incredible suffering. So tell us again, maybe what you may normally not share. What’s true for you these days?
PEB: I think I’ve known so many people who had real suffering. I didn’t, I would rarely have felt like I had a kind of suffering that Jesus had or other people and that I’ve known and my suffering for some reason, I think that because I’ve done hard stuff that I’ve been able to put for me serious suffering in its place. Like did you read Boys in a Boat? Well, I mean it’s incomprehensible how much they trained and suffered in their training. I think about this. So all of these people, Boys in a Boat or Unbroken, they all had some kind of athletic activity. They did. Zamperini ran in the Olympics. Yeah. So they knew how to dig deep. They knew how to suffer. And a tour de France writer told me that I was asking how, why do you think some people can, are just better? They can, when they say they, they know how to ride through the pain.
So I think having done that, like when I hired people, sometimes I would automatically interview somebody who had been a rower crew is my most admired team sport. The eights in particular, cause they suffer big time, but they’re all in sync. Think about it, the combination. And so anyway, I think anybody who’s done those kinds of things, I would try to hire people like that regardless. Maybe it was just doing a 10 mile ride. It didn’t have to be like right across America or something.
AARON: And for you today though, you have cancer. What kind of cancer do you have?
PEB: Well, I’ve had prostate cancer for 13 years, 13 and a half years, and it’s metastatic.
AARON: And what does that mean?
PEB: It means it’s in the bones, so it’s probably in my lymph nodes. And so I’ve done clinical trials and over 27 months I’ve had Kaiser chemicals shot up through me and into me. So to a certain degree going through those kinds of things you think about it. It’s the a hundred pound gorilla in your mind kind of thing. But the Lord took the fear from me and gave me fascination. Think about that. I mean, you don’t just do that because of your own will or your own powerful mental capacity. Emotional capacity. What I’ve been given is a gift. I choose another way to get a gift and get her blessing, but it’s what I have. So I’m going to make the most out of it.
AARON: Another one of your friends said PEB equals coffee. I love that. And the question is, what is turning your crank these days?
PEB: Well, I signed something the other day. Perpetually caffeinated. People think I consume quantities, large quantities of caffeine, coffee. In reality, I don’t even drink coffee. I mean, I haven’t had a cup of coffee, regular coffee for 10, 12 years. I drink espresso, little demitasse cups and maybe only drink two a day. So I don’t drink huge amounts. I just like to just sit around coffee shops maybe having this ceremony, that’s a good word. Ceremony of coffee and maybe perpetually caffeinated on life, something like that.
So I like that and what’s turning me on and in so many different ways. I mean, I’m still interested in doing things now rather than putting them off at the stage of life where I’m saying, okay, let’s, why we’re going down in the South Pacific for, for Thanksgiving to New Zealand. I want to go, I still want to go to blank places. Blank places on the map. You know, like we went to the center of the Indian ocean last year, 26 hours from Maricia. It’s on a little 32 foot fishing boat, terrible seas. And it was phenomenal. The other thing is I’m not letting my inability physically to do some of the things, keep me from finding a degree, a high degree of satisfaction with less, it doesn’t mean less money or less resources. It means just doing less. Like I used to go out, I’d go out this afternoon and do a two hour ride up in the mountains and it was just, I’d come back with the endorphins were so high. Sharon would say, wait 10 minutes before you come into the house.
And I, and I loved that. And, but I dunno, I had the capacity to do that as much as I used to, but so what, what, so understanding the satisfaction quotient with less, doing less, Oh, maybe I’ll go for 20 minutes.I have that great feeling when I come back. I still like to get that. And I think you know, all of us are tuned in if we’re in faith and we’ve been in faith for a while, we, we’re, we’re, we’re tuned in to going to church doing the Bible studies, going to conferences, going to musical events.
And I find that a lot of guys have the missing ingredient and I think it’s huge. Be fodder for another conversation is really developing the intimacy with the heavenly father alone with nothing else, with no other stimuli, the scripture, the Holy spirit. And and I, I think it’s the most important thing of our time is that personal relationship, not just testifying. And I’m a Christian. I have a personal relationship with the heavenly father, but I cultivate it.
You don’t have to be an MIT grad to understand it and maybe just be sitting here with your hands open, not even outstretched, necessarily your hands open and inviting the Holy spirit to come in and dwell and then reading some scriptures and asking the Lord and the Holy spirit to help you discern and understand and gain wisdom. I mean, think of the power of that which I think supersedes any aggregate experience. Any program. I’m not militaristic about it. I just think it’s a missing, missing ingredient, a missing practice with a lot of people.
AARON: Yeah. And I’m hearing again just in listening to you PEV is remembering Eugene Peterson’s interview again and him talking about how his practice was sitting alone in quiet for, in his case, an hour to two a day. And just in the practice of the presence of God and how that in a way, I guess what I’m just curious about is how much of that is the, the development of, of wisdom as we age.
You know, saying advising that for a 20 year old man, I don’t know many 20 year olds or even, you know, myself at 20 could, could have done that well. And I’m finding more as I, as I’m getting older that I’m finding more value in that just being versus doing and then being alone with God versus having it always be a corporate experience.
PEB: I would dedicate part of my life to introducing that aspect of it to 20 year olds. Because I think there’s so many communal experiences that can be powerful together, better together almost. But without the personal experience of asking for wisdom, guidance, discernment, I would encourage them to develop that practice.
AARON: I love watching you as a witness at 75 with cancer, with, you know, a vibrant life with, you know, part of making films and apprenticing, you know, young men and getting out on a bike for 20 minutes and you know, reading and you send out your e-blasts twice a year and it’s very clear that you’re vibrant and fully alive. And it seems to me have very little to do with your age or your body, but just out of your spirit level, you’re, you’re alive and well.
PEB: You know, Sharon my wife was a rehab nurse and and by the way, I, the Lord knew I needed a nurse, a full time live in ER nurse as my wife. But she was a, in rehab, she said you could tell how a person dealt with their traumatic experience by what they were like before. Inevitably they were able to put it in its place. Maybe it knocked him for a loop for some time, but they eventually went back to how they were hardwired. And I think that’s when I’m hard wired.
But I do think there could be a time in my life when I can’t do a thing. I have to be fed and, and maybe my mind would start going, who knows? I mean, we’re not promised anything. But I think that it’s just like I said before, I think that how we live before a traumatic thing or slow death we’ll tune us into how we accept it.
AARON: That’s a good word. Thank you. Yeah. I love this happened.
PEB: I feel honored and I’m gonna tell you what the interesting thing is I’m not used to doing most of the talking.
AARON: Right. Right. Which is also why it feels important to me. To help this moment happen. Because people care about you and what you have to say and the impact that you’ve had in their life. And so this just gives out of their insatiable curiosity. It helps us. You know, absolutely.
PEB: So there’s this football player who contracted a deadly disease, and he was dying and he died. So what he wanted were his friends in the room. And I thought about that same thing. I think there’s something about just going and sitting with a friend who’s going through a lot of stuff and just being there, being a presence. It’s not what you say necessarily, it’s being a presence. It’s being a genuine presence at ease as maybe a parallel to what I would be interested in as a, as I get into whatever’s in the future is being at ease with whatever
Chuck Bolton Friend of Peb Jackson: So who is Peb Jackson? He is kind. He’s generous. He’s just a strong man. He walks with humility, but tremendous gratitude. I admire him and respect him deeply. He’s wild as in a good wild. He’s attained by this world, but still with our cross. He’s a beautiful man. One I love and I’m grateful I can call a friend and brother.