Randy Hall marched to his own drum as a child and teenager. He loved thrills and adventure, and often found himself at odds with his family. As he matured, he rejected the idea of settling down―he enjoyed his fast-paced lifestyle too much to give it up.
Eventually, Randy found a degree of stability―if not respectability―with his own women’s clothing store in Laguna Beach. His charismatic personality made him a natural salesman, and he seemed to have a gift for choosing merchandise that
would appeal to women. To those who knew him at the time, that was no surprise. Randy went through women like potato chips―enjoying them for a short while and then moving on to the next one. As Randy himself remembers it,
“I was a bad guy.”
Then came that night in April 2000. Randy’s memory is still hazy about how it actually came about, but he says if he hadn’t been attacked, his unconstrained lifestyle probably would have killed him.
“I almost feel lucky that I went into the coma,” Randy said in a 2005 interview. “It was almost necessary for me to realize how bad my life really was. I may have had thousands of women, but it was always ‛boom, boom, see ya.’ I wasn’t happy. I want a wife. I want kids. I love kids…If it would have been my time to go, I probably would have gone down there,” Randy said pointin downward. “I was a bad guy, but look, here I am now. I am so lucky,” he says, shuddering as he thinks of his past life of sin and pleasure. “I am much happier now.”
It hasn’t been easy. Since February 2002, Randy has been in and out of hospitals, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers trying to regain the abilities he lost while comatose. He had to learn again how to talk, and it was almost five years before he could walk without assistance. He’s had countless surgeries.
Then there were setbacks, like the infected brain shunt and removal of an abscess the size of a tennis ball, which caused him to regress so far that he almost died.
But perhaps the most difficult part of the journey has been the emotional toll. Finding himself helpless and needing to re-learn things he knew when he was a small child was extremely frustrating for Randy―and those around him. He took out his anger on his family and on the therapists and attendants who worked with him. Many of those people quit; Randy’s brother, Alan, began to doubt how hard he fought to help him heal.
Slowly, though, over the course of the past six years, Randy has gained a new sense of self, a better self who accepts that before he was attacked he wasn’t a very nice―or happy―person. Randy has come to believe that he was brought back to serve as an example for others whose lives are as dissolute as his own used to be.
Randy credits God for his recovery and wants to reach out and help others see that accepting God into their lives can bring true happiness and inner peace.
After all, what is a two-year coma, six years of rehabilitation, and several near-death episodes compared to a miracle?