September 11, 2011

Mike Rallo, Helping Up Mission Clinical Manager, is part of a crisis intervention counseling program that mobilizes during world crises. On September 12, 2001, Mike was called to the Pentagon to meet with families of those murdered on 9/11. 

Mike recalls listening to the President’s message to not let the terrorists think they have won by getting back to normal – do what you normally do, go back to work, go shopping, live your lives again…When Mike arrived at the Pentagon, he met with a family who lost their son that day. 

Because of the nature of the destruction, this family did not even have a body to grieve over or bury. They also listened to the President’s words, seeking hope to go forward but all they could say to Mike was a rhetorical question, “are we supposed to go shopping to feel better?”

Months and many conversations later, this family still struggled with much hurt and grief. Knowing Mike liked the American Idol television show, they invited him to watch it and have dinner with them. It was Inspiration Week when competitors sang uplifting songs. One guy sang the Beatles’ Imagine, followed by a young woman who shared a story of hope in the midst of pain and then sang a blatantly Gospel song about Heaven. 

The mother started to cry and said to Mike, “you know, I always loved Imagine, but that girl’s song did something to my soul…it touched me.” Mike asked how so. “Well, Imagine didn’t offer any hope outside of our own circumstances and humanity. But her song talked about a hope that was deeper and bigger because of a love that was greater than the pain.” 

Beginning that day, this mother began to find hope…then came some answers…and finally she experienced true empowerment. It has been a decade and Mike continues to stay in touch with the family. Today that mother is a counselor, herself, offering the same hope she found to others who also need it.

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Forever One Day at a Time,
Pastor Gary Byers
Spiritual Life Director