We welcome Dion Oxford again today to share his perspective in a post that originally appeared on his personal blog dionoxford.com.

Well I finally did it. After three years of using this thing, I capsized my wheelchair; with me in it.

I was coming home from a routine trip to the store. The roads have still not been cleared very well from the snow and I have to take a run for it up onto the sidewalk in order to get into the house. I have done this a few times before so I wasn’t worried about it. So I put the pedal down so to speak, headed to the sidewalk, and the snow drew me off to the right. Before I knew it, I was lying on the snowy pavement with the wheelchair beside me. I had managed to get on the sidewalk but as soon as I got on I fell off the curb and the whole thing went sideways.

Dion's outstretched legs are visible as he takes a photo from his position sitting in his wheelchair. The sidewalk in front of him is fairly clear, but beyond the curb there is lots of snow and a drain in the street visible.There is a curb cut in front of him, leading down to the street.

I didn’t have much time to assess my situation before people started showing up. I must have been quite the site. The first thing people asked was if I was OK. The interesting thing was I felt totally fine. In scanning through my body I didn’t think I had hurt anything, thank God.

I did assume however that I had sustained a ton of damage to my chair.

But before I could dwell on that much longer, there seemed to be a dozen or so people all around me. That in and of itself was kind of weird because I was on a little side street just in front of my house. There’s really not much traffic there usually but all of a sudden all these people were there.

I kind of felt like it was a God thing.

Like it was a grace thing.

And everyone wanted to help. So once I assured everyone that I was OK, we then got to work in getting me back on the chair.

Even though I was the one on the street lying in the snow, I felt my need to control things kick in and I steered the way forward in terms of what we should do. Everyone picked up my chair first. Then some strong people picked me up and placed me on the chair. Once I got myself straightened out, I felt much better. And in trying out the different controls on the chair, it was clear that I hadn’t sustained any damage there either.

I said thank you to everyone profusely, a couple of people came the rest of the way with me into the back door, I thanked them to no end, and I was in the house just like nothing ever happened.

When I caught my breath and thought over what had just happened, I kind of felt lucky. I’m not quick to theologize things, but this really did feel like a God moment to me. Where did all those people come from so quickly? And how could they all be so nice?

I had just experienced grace.

Undeserved grace.

Amazing grace.

I had fallen off the curb of a sidewalk, had a 400 pound wheelchair fall with me, I ended up lying in the middle of a snow packed street, and came away with no injuries or broken chair stuff.

Is that not some kind of miracle even?

I am studying the transformative dynamics of grace in a class I am taking. And I have to say I really am getting some good things out of it. But nothing says grace to me as much as experiencing it firsthand.

And on Sunday afternoon, I got another huge wallop of it.

How much more can I ask for?

Prayer

God of miracles

Thank you for your grace.

Thank you for your undeserved grace.

Thank you for your overwhelming grace.

I love studying and reading about grace.

But much more importantly I am incredibly thankful to experience it when I least expect it.

That’s grace in ways that academia could never articulate.

So thank you for once again teaching me a lesson that I could never learn in the classroom.

Thank you for once again teaching me a lesson that I could have never learned in a church pew listening to a sermon.

Thank you for your amazing grace.

Amen


A black and white photo of Dion smiling into the camera. He is a white man with a goatee, glasses, and no hair on his head.
Dion Oxford is a Jesus follower first and foremost. He was the Mission Strategist for The Salvation Army’s 5 homeless shelters in Toronto, called Housing and Homeless Supports. Dion, along with his wife Erinn and daughter Cate, live in Toronto and are committed to journeying alongside people in the margins of society. He has spent more than 25 years working among folks who are living on or close to the streets of Toronto. He was the founding director of the Salvation Army Gateway; a shelter for men experiencing homelessness.

Dion also lives with Multiple Sclerosis and uses a wheelchair to get around. He is an advocate on behalf of people in the margins of society, and is an accomplished public speaker on the topic of housing, homelessness and disabilities. He likes to read, rant, write, fly kites, watch TV, play and listen to music, and hang out with his friends. He and his wife see the solution to homelessness as taking seriously the 2 great commandments of loving God and loving our neighbour.
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