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Lilia Grundy’s family trip to Knotts Berry Farm offered an opportunity for prayer and joy, long lines and all.

As my husband and daughters went off to board the Wipeout, I decided to stay back and bypass the ride in order to soak up the sun (and save my stomach the pain of continuous spinning). It had been months since we last experienced the wonderful rays of sunshine. Living in the Pacific Northwest, I thought this spring break trip would be a great way to escape the gloom. 

Part of my pitch to the family for this getaway included the weather, a chance to revisit my old stomping grounds, (including the beach) and for the finale—a trip to the famous Charlie Brown-themed amusement park, Knotts Berry Farm.  

We had made it to the end of the week battling food poisoning, allergies, congestion and exhaustion.  
But the day had arrived, and we were intent on having fun. 


Wait and Pray 

There’s great wonder in anticipation—and the excitement leading up to our visit to see the Peanuts gang didn’t disappoint. However, as soon as we arrived, there were thousands of other families looking to hop onto the Pony Express too. So, we detoured, opting for the Calico Mine Ride instead.  

Each new ride brought more wait times and lines. As we waited, I took out my rosary beads (I never leave the house without them) and I began to pray for the individuals that surrounded us. It’s always interesting to imagine the stories behind each stranger waiting next to me. 

So I took the opportunity to turn the boredom into prayer. Frustrations would dwindle, and I would claim victory. However, irritability would arise again, and I started the cycle all over. 

When we we made it to my favorite ride, the Wave Swinger, I fully embraced the luscious wind that hit my face as our swings floated across the sky. It felt like I was flying, and I felt gratitude. 




My Boysenberry Bubble 

If I’m being honest, I became impatient too, wondering if waiting over an hour to battle the berry bears with jelly blasters really was worth it. But I held tight to my beads and thought, prayer is never a waste. 

Because it was “Boysenberry Festival” time at the park, everything offered to patrons came in boysenberry. The food, the apparel, the décor.  


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How often I miss out on grace because I’m trapped in my own bubble, battling nuisances like waiting in line. #CatholicMom


At one point, when my family went off to fetch a boysenberry-mango iced tea, I stood once again, basking in the sun and I caught a glimpse of a young boy, sitting in his wheelchair.  

I inferred he had some sort of muscular disease, which did not allow him to move his legs or arms. His head alone would sway and as he was sitting next to his father, he pushed his forehead to meet his. And he smiled. And beamed. His smile displayed utter joy and I was struck as tears rolled down my cheek. 

How often I miss out on grace because I’m trapped in my own bubble, battling nuisances like waiting in line. That beautiful young child taught me there are opportunities for virtue in any moment—even at a Boysenberry Festival at an amusement park.  

Joy is a sign of God’s presence in us. (Mother Angelica)




Copyright 2023 Lilia Grundy
Images: (top, center) Canva; (bottom) copyright 2023 Lilia Grundy, all rights reserved.