“There are still good people in the world,” Lisa Bell told me as I sat in her home in Port LaBelle, “but I feel like my life is like a train crash waiting to happen.”
Lisa boarded this ill-fated proverbial train at about four in the morning on September 15, 2016 when she received a call from her ex-husband telling her to get to New York as soon as she possibly could because her son, Jonathan Daniels, had been in a life threatening accident. Twenty-five year old Jonathan had been traveling by motorcycle to a local festival with a few of his friends, when an automobile backed out into his line of traffic causing him to crash into the car and send him flying into a telephone pole. “When the first paramedic came to the scene he said ‘There’s no way that he’s going to make it through the night’”
Overcome with emotion Lisa began frantically booking flights, hotels, car rentals, and making calls to family and friends, to let them know what had happened.
When she finally was able to see her son it was around eleven o’clock at night. She learned that he had suffered bleeding of the brain, lacerations of both the liver and kidney, sixteen broken vertebrae, two collapsed lungs, and was in a medically induced coma. “It was horrendous when he came out of the coma because he just started to scream with pain. He sounded like a bear that had been shot. That’s your child and there’s nothing you can do but pray,” Lisa said as she tried to hold back the tears.
“I had prayer chains in LaBelle, on the other coast, and through literally all of the states.”
She said it was the prayers of hundreds of people that held her together throughout the days she sat beside him in the hospital. But, even in this dark time, she said she knew that God would have a hand in this incident in some way.
When he was finally able to walk Lisa left the hospital, New York, and her son to head back home to LaBelle. She told me it was the hardest thing she’d ever had to do but she knew that Jonathan had been left with an amazing support system. His girlfriend, Lindsay Baker, had never left his side during his stay in the hospital and had been his strongest supporter in his fight for survival: a fight that some had said would never be won.
Since Lisa’s return to LaBelle, Jonathan has made strides toward his recovery and she has witnessed an outpouring of support from the community. “I’ll be eating dinner at a restaurant and someone will come up and say that they are praying for our family” Lisa said.
She would like to send a massive “thank you” to the community of LaBelle, her church family at First Christian Church of LaBelle, her co-workers and students at Country Oaks Elementary and everyone else who has been knocking on God’s door on behalf of her and her son. “When something tragic happens in LaBelle it’s like the whole town comes together and rallies for you.” But it’s not only the local people that have stepped up to the plate for Jonathan during this time of recovery; there’s been a little bit of kindness shown from a shining star in Nashville, Tennessee as well.
The day before his accident, Jonathan hd purchased tickets for his girlfriend, Lindsay, to see her favorite country recording artist Blake Shelton. Because of the timing of his accident, and the hours spent by his side in the hospital, Lindsay and Jonathan had to miss the concert. As soon as Jonathan had recovered enough he did something that even his mother couldn’t believe; Jonathan went to social media to try and pay his girlfriend back for all the support and love she had shown to him. He wrote a letter to the country music legend on Facebook, detailing the events of his story in the hopes that Blake Shelton would see it and respond. And see it he did!
Over twenty million views of his post later, Blake Shelton sent a video response to Jonathan giving well wishes, two tickets to any concert they were able to attend, an invitation to meet with them, and a little of advice. “Motorcycles are dangerous.”
Lisa says she’s continued to be amazed at what God has done in her life, and in the life of her son. She said she is beyond grateful for her son’s life, the support they’ve both received, and the many positive things that have come from this potentially tragic event. “I’ve been given so much that there is nothing in the world I could possibly ask for,” she said, but after a beat she continued “except maybe to be with him on Christmas!”
I was so inspired by my conversation with Lisa. We laughed. We cried. And by the end of our time together we both agreed that it was the faith of a mother, along with a little help from a country star, that will allow her family to enjoy another very Merry Christmas.