There was a day I wasn’t a very emotional person. That day was quite some time ago. I can remember laughing at my mom as a child when she would have a tear trace down her cheek during a sad scene on a movie. I couldn’t understand it. But now, I’m much, much worse.
That point was proven today when my five year old walked into the kitchen to find me with tears streaming down my face as I tried not to sob. “What’s wrong, Mommy?” She asked. To which I busted out laughing and said, “Nothing, honey, I’m just listening to a sad story.” She looked at me like I’d lost my mind and walked out of the room. I decided to turn off the audiobook until they were in bed so I could cry without disturbing anyone.
So, what was I listening to? It was an autobiography by Kevin West and Frederick Edwards entitled “Angel In Aisle 3.” I have no idea why it popped up in my recommend books section a week or so ago, but I thought, “Hey? Why not?” I was blown away in so many ways!
The Basic Story Line
Angel in Aisle 3 tells the story of a wealthy businessman who committed fraud with his company and was now facing losing not just his job, but his freedom outside of a jail cell as well. In desperation, he purchased a grocery store where he regularly allowed those down on their luck to have some “credit” with the store to get their groceries until they had the money. One such person was a homeless man by the name of Don.
While many folks saw Don as a worthless old beggar, Kevin, the businessman learned he had great wisdom and a loving heart. Overtime, the two became great friends and both helped one another to do things neither ever dreamed that they could possibly handle.
Mental Health Issues
Don’s mental health issue supposedly began after losing his job, suffering from a serious accident, and losing his family. He fell into a deep depression, that is, until he came to know the Lord. He began studying the Scriptures and going to church whenever he could. The darkness began to leave him. One day, he went up to the altar, telling the pastor he wished for the fullness of the Spirit. Unwilling to pray with him, or even for him, he was instead treated very unkindly, which worsened his mental health, exactly as I discussed in this blog post.
As time continued, however, Don studied more and more of the Scriptures and learned just how much God loved him, even if people were unkind. His depression began to lift, but he was still very wary of those around him, particularly those who were doing better in life than he was.
Helping Each Other
Without giving away too much of the story, let me say this, throughout the book, the friendships between Kevin and Don grow and grow, until Don is truly Kevin’s biggest confidant. Kevin begins to call Don whenever there is a problem, asking for spiritual advice or help in any other way possible. He receives help through his marital problems, his fears, and even everyday issues that come up at his store. Most importantly, however, he teaches Kevin the importance of trusting in the Lord no matter what.
But Don isn’t the only one lending a helping hand. Kevin slowly helps Don to overcome his fear of others by introducing him to those closest to him, and encouraging him to be himself. Don gains so much confidence that he begins his own Bible study and even develops a relationship with a special lady. He too becomes grateful for his new found friend.
As you get closer to the end of the book, make sure you have your tissues ready. The fears and anxieties of a man, his wife, and his children, as he finds himself standing before a judge awaiting sentencing is a scary, scary thing. As I listened to the story unfold, I found myself taken back in time 20 years to my grandmother’s front yard. I can’t remember exactly what had happened, but my oldest brother, 13 years my senior, was in trouble with the law yet again. He swooped me up into his arms and held me so tight I thought I would lose my ability to breathe. With tears running down both of our faces he began repeating, “I’m not going to go to jail again. I promise you. I’ll never let this happen again!” It was such an agonizing moment for a young child and I’ve never forgotten it.
With that experience in mind, the anguish of the author as he tells his young children of what is about to happen, and hears the crying of his wife, my emotions just poured out like someone had turned on a faucet. Of course, I can’t let you know the outcome of that case without spoiling the awesome ending. I do want to say though that my tears returned when I resumed the book and continued until the very end when I was reminded that “God works in mysterious ways.”
Get Your Own Copy
If you’ve been looking for a great book to read or listen to, get a copy of Angel in Aisle 3 today! You’ll be glad you did!