Lilia Grundy uses her car to evangelize her kiddos on their way to summer camp.
“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.” (Matthew 5:12)
I walked outside carrying my backpack to one side of my shoulder, with my sleeping bag tucked underneath the opposite arm. It was sunny, hot and I took a somber deep breath knowing I wouldn’t be spending the weekend out on the beach like the rest of my friends. No, I was leaving on retreat with highschoolers from my parish, and I wasn’t feeling it.
My father was outside as I about to load my things for the ride to the retreat. He could tell my heart wasn’t in it as I glanced to him and asked, “Why am I always doing these things while the rest of my friends get to have fun?” He gently smiled and replied, “Your reward will be waiting for you in heaven.”
I wish I could admit that I immediately understood what my father was trying to tell me—I didn’t. But I can say that moment has always stuck with me, and it’s a lesson I want to pass onto my children.
I learned early on in the academic year that I had to create a way to begin our family’s days with a grateful mindset. With the morning rush and anxieties of the day ahead, it was easy to get disgruntled even before we walked out of the house. That’s when it hit me that I needed to take the opportunity to get in a daily prayer while driving on the way to school. I call it our “Gratitude prayer.”
Each morning as I turn on the ignition, I am reminded to ask my girls, “So, what are we grateful for today?” Initially, they began slowly—vaguely expressing their gratitude for general things (life, family, animals, and so on). Eventually they began to become more specific and focused. “I’m grateful for our teachers and that we have a good school to go to.”
The car ride over to the girls’ school is under ten minutes. But our routine has allowed us to pray together each morning and start each day with a reminder of how blessed we are no matter what challenges we face.
It occurred to me that our car serves as an effective evangelization tool for our family. We get to spend a precious amount of time in close contact with one another. Our rosary hanging on the rearview mirror is a reminder that we belong to Team Christ. The clouds, trees, and mountains outside the windows make for a beautiful backdrop to conversation. In addition to prayer, we have the chance to read the daily Mass readings and share stories that resonate with the theme.
As summer kicks into high gear, we are booked with summer camps each week. Some eye rolls begin as my girls ask, “Why do we have to go to so many camps?” My mind flashes back to that moment with my father. I immediately begin our gratitude prayer and vow to use this time driving to summer camps, continuing to evangelize in our car: “Christ’s summer camp car.”
Copyright 2022 Lilia Grundy
About the Author
Lilia Grundy is University of Portland’s Pamplin School of Business’ Director of Corporate Partnerships with over 20 years of corporate experience (including Kraft Foods, NBC Television, and Telemundo). Lilia launched Catholic Women Professionals to inspire other working women to grow their faith. She is married to her high-school sweetie Rob - they have beautiful twin girls who love art, music and learning about the saints.