grieving an unlikely father – RIP P. Volker Grunwald OMI

Not having had contact with him since a last brief visit after I landed at Frankfurt airport for short visit to Ger in/around 2002. Later, I have very occasionally looked for signs of public activities but never found anything past 2004 when he would have been 70. From 1987, I had spent private retreats several times a year at his monastery until about 1992 after I had met him as a fellow retreatant in a rather unlikely setting (a US-Charismatic giving a retreat in the context of a liberal Swiss community Katharina-Werk which was otherwise into Zen…)

Unusual and unexpected, him being more than 20 years my senior, – he offered genuinely and softly to be on first terms and – I have never before or after met anyone who could let me be like he could and did -, to leave or take any suggestions he might make (very few they were to been with). He listened.

Instead, from his little carpeted room under the crypt, we sat, in silence. And I was helped to accept myself where I had found myself, bewildered. En route to a secular negative theology…

The irony of having found him never escaped me when I pattered from my guest room down into the basement to his little meditation room at the end of the corridor.: Along the walls were glass cases with missionary trophies from past times (I hope) – stuffed exotic animals.

So I knew I was diving into reality full of or beyond paradox. What I didn’t know until he implied a positive development in a brief letter years later, how much self doubt he had been still carrying then. Yet to me, he was and remains, the most liberated introvert kind person. He’d probably find that already too much praise. So I only add: unpretentious to the bone – .

When I last saw him, his heart was out of confusion. I was able to tell him how much he meant to me. I am glad I did not share how alien I remained to and in the church. There are many mansions…

~ by Barbara S on December 6, 2022.

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