Easter promise: Suffering still exists, but cross-bearer helps

Sometimes when things don’t go right in our lives we blame God, casting our fists in the sky in anger as if God is supposed to make everything perfect for us.

But the promise of Easter is not that everything will be perfect, but that He will aid, comfort and be our guide and salvation in an imperfect world.

Chris Benguhe is a columnist for The Catholic Sun.
Chris Benguhe is a columnist for The Catholic Sun.

He does all that by sending us the love and comfort of others.

That’s what Chrissy and Ryan realized after life took a few unexpected turns for the couple.

Growing up in a big family of seven super successful sibling athletes, with college scholarships to boot, Chrissy dreamed her whole life of becoming a successful volleyball player. While playing volleyball in high school, she was well on her way to a college scholarship.

But when she injured her knee, a college career in competitive sports was no longer in the cards. “I was crying my eyes out every day,” Chrissy said. “Volleyball was all I knew since I was kid.”

It was a devastating end to her dreams — or so she thought. But while getting help for her torn ACL, she found another dream.

“I actually had a blast in physical therapy,” Chrissy recalled. “It was painful and difficult. But I felt such an incredible bond with my therapists, and they cared about me so deeply. Suddenly I started thinking about doing that for a living one day.”

Chrissy never looked back, starting the long road to a doctorate degree in physical therapy. Her new dream and new life were fueling her full speed ahead to help others to recover their lives and dreams.

Then in her last year of her physical therapy program, into her life walked another dream, a young military pilot battling not only a bruised body but a shattered dream of his own.

Blessing in disguise

Ryan was preparing to go overseas to fly F-16s when a death-defying car crash landed him in the hospital. In a wheelchair for two months, he was then sent back to Luke Air Force Base for therapy. But when the injury proved a little more serious, they sent him off base for therapy, where he wound up in the care of Chrissy.

“He walked with the most ridiculous limp,” recalls Chrissy. “And I thought this has got to be the most beat-up looking 28-year-old man I have ever seen. But he was also the friendliness person I ever met too.”

It wasn’t just because of his injury that he looked so bad; Ryan was demoralized. He was terrified that he wouldn’t be able to fly again.

“All that he ever wanted to do was fly airplanes and he was thinking he could never do it again,” Chrissy said. “I told him how he was young and strong, and I knew he was going to be able to recover. It gave him hope again.”

It wasn’t long before Ryan’s spirits were soaring again, and her fellow co-workers started noticing that Ryan was taking a shining to his therapist, something Chrissy was oblivious to because she was so focused on her job. They suggested the two date when his therapy was over.

So on the last day of Chrissy’s rotation in the center, Ryan asked her and another therapist if they wanted to have a casual dinner and then take a ride in a flight simulator at Luke.

From that night forward the two were inseparable, dating for two years before Ryan asked Chrissy to marry him on top of a mountain on Christmas Day in 2011. Six months later they walked through a military arch of swords after exchanging vows at Brophy Chapel in Phoenix.

Oh, and Ryan did indeed fly again. And the two of them soar higher than ever nowadays with God’s love under their wings.