Finding Hope

For the last 6 days, I’ve been in Los Angeles, soaking up the sunshine, spending time with my favorite people and starting on the path to making one of my dreams come true. On the day before I left, I was lounging by the pool with my best friend, Jenna and we met a truly inspirational woman.

While laying on our lounge chairs catching up, a man approached us and asked if we would take a photo of him in the pool so he could make his friends back east super jealous of the gorgeous 80 degree weather in January. Enthusiastically, we said yes, then got to know our new friend. While we were chatting with him by the near empty pool, a woman got in the pool and joined our conversation.

Her name is Hope.

The conversation started off like any other, until our new friend brought up his love for biking and asked her if she was a fan of it. She responded by saying she can’t really exercise anymore because of an accident she had years ago.

Something compelled me to ask her more. So, this curious George said, “If you don’t mind me asking, what happened?”

Hope proceeded to tell us the story of her horrific car accident, which left her trapped underneath a crumpled car for 12 hours, 9 of which she was awake. She told us once she started losing consciousness, she had come to terms with the idea that she would take her last breath there in the rubble of her accident. She said “I’m not religious, but I am spiritual.” and said how important it was for her to mentally let her loved ones know that she was okay. As she lost consciousness, the Jaws of Life helped to remove her from the car and she woke up several days later in the hospital. Hope had broken 17 bones and lost her sight in one eye.

I was sitting in front of her wondering what you do after experiencing something so traumatic and how life must have changed afterwards. Again, we asked. She told us that she quit her job that she hated, started her own business and isn’t making a killing, but she’s HAPPY. She also said nowadays she doesn’t sweat the small stuff. She even told us about accidentally running into a woman earlier in the day, apologizing and recieving a nasty face in return. She said she apologized again, complimented her to try and brighten her day, then moved on, understanding how true it is that you never know what another person is going through at any given moment. Maybe this woman just found out that she has cancer. Who knows… but it made me think of a quote…

I feel so inspired by Hope and the many people who have come out on top after terrible accidents. Hope is now living in Napa with her winemaker husband (Carneros Wine Alliance for all my wine-o’s out there) and their two kids. 6 years after Hope’s accident, her eye sight came back! I’d like to thank Hope for reminding me not to sweat the small stuff and to always have Hope, no matter how hard your situation may be. Also, for my fellow travelers, make new friends along your travels. You never know when you might meet someone like Hope and find inspiration.

When you’re feeling lost, try to remember that sometimes when you least expect it, you find Hope.