The Gift of 9-11
(from The Magnificat and Traces)
On September 11, 2001, 29-year-old Tiffiny Gulla, a successful facilities manager in downtown Manhattan, stood on a corner facing the Twin Towers when events that would change the course of her life transpired. She shares with Traces her life’s journey over the past ten years: “This disease has put Him front and center.”
Every time I have gone to the doctor over this time it is something new—losing my fingertips or feeling the hardening of my left lung… I am not thinking about all this while it is happening. I did not even realize how changed I was physically until 2006 when I saw a picture of myself and I said, "Wow, I am deformed!"
My life, although successful, was chaotic. My mother, in the throes of her second bout with cancer, had just moved in with me—with my brother, so we could take care of her. I had a greater desire for meaning and was ready for any change. So, on the suggestion of a friend, I went on an interview for this job with royal blue financial corp. (now Fidessa) in 2000. I was hired not necessarily for my resume but, oddly enough, because I was on an amateur national golf circuit, and my would-be boss loved golf! I thought, “Maybe Providence is at work here!” As a facilities manager, I did everything from running around with a real estate broker, dealing with lawyers, to finally renting the office space; I would then design, manage, and upkeep the offices and data centers. Two months into the job, I discovered that there was a chapel 50 feet from my office, Our Lady of the Rosary, the Mother Seton shrine, and I made that my second home. This was an answer to my prayer, which by then was becoming, “Lord, I want You to be my full focus.” Because I was working there, I was downtown on September 11th. And that brought this disease, which has put Him front and center, as I had asked. It was almost a relief to know I would have to depend on Him now.
God had to take each one of my gifts and talents away one by one for me to see what the real Gift is. My life is no longer who I know, all my contacts, what I can do—because I can no longer do what I was able to do physically. Now my life is just Him, on whom I fully depend. I still work in finance, designing office spaces. I can’t play music anymore but I still have my voice and I am composing music with the help of friends. I have to give everything to everyone because I am so dependent. But if I had not already been in a relationship of dependence on Christ, accepting so much help would be unbearable. Instead, my friends are signs of Him for me. I was even given a phenomenal doctor and friend ... named Franz. He has saved me physically more than once—and has helped me emotionally and spiritually as well.
I know a lot of pain, and getting through the day is truly trying, but I cannot emphasize enough that God is there every minute. How can I not accept all this as a gift?!