Julian and I finally met in Cannes.
For those of you who don’t know who I’m talking about, Julian Lord, aka JabbaPapa, has been a regular on this blog almost since it started.
I was very excited to meet him.
He and I have crossed swords on many occasions. Julian, you see, is a committed Christian, and I am not. I am not a Christian and I have not yet been committed.
But I’m working on it.
Julian lives in Monaco, about 30kms up the coast from Cannes. We arranged to meet during the festival but unfortunately when he arrived I was in a meeting with a UK sales agent and I kept him waiting a while. But he was good natured, and said that as a pilgrim time doesn’t really matter…
What stuck me when I first laid eyes on Julian is that he is an imposing figure. He’s a tall large man, with an intensity about him that some would find daunting. He was wearing all black, with a swirling black cape and a pilgrim’s staff.
This was no affectation for my benefit. This is the way Julian dresses.
I drove him back to Grasse, a small town in the hills behind Cannes which is where Jennifer and I were staying. We had dinner together and I asked him a bunch of questions.
Julian is a highly intelligent, highly educated man – educated at the Sorbonne, which is the most prestigious University in France. He has firm views on most matters, which he will argue passionately and with the scholarship to back up his position.
Julian has an incisive mind that consistently challenges the veracity of statements you might make. I like this. It keeps me on my toes.
Julian and I most recently parried when I wrote a blog –
Julian felt that I was belittling religion, which was not my intention. Read the blog, read the comments back and forth, and you will get a sense of Julian.
I have enormous respect for his views, because I know they come from faith and erudition, which is a hard combination to argue against.
But I do my best.
Julian walked his first pilgrimage in the early 90s, before the Camino was as widely known as it is today. He has walked to Santiago many times since, from various starting points way further afield than St. Jean Pied de Port, and he’s walked back home again too.
He had a revelation during his first pilgrimage, and that turned him to Christianity.
Julian is the real deal.
The next day Jennifer and I drove him back to Monaco. When we got there he very kindly helped me with getting a French SIM card recharged for my iPad.
We spent too little time together unfortunately for us to really engage in the kind of discussions that we both hankered for. We just skittered around the edges. But there will be time again somewhere down the track, I’m sure. Julian has come into my life for a reason, I feel that very strongly.
As we parted I told him he was a true pilgrim.
He told me that I’m not, yet, but I’m getting’ there…
That’s a big compliment from Julian Lord!