Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mrs. Coulson: From Rossvally the Movie

“When I found you on the battle-field you were so far gone that I thought it hardly worth while to pick you up; but when you opened those large blue eyes I thought you had a mother somewhere who might, at that moment, be thinking of her boy.” Max L Rossvally

When my husband, Peter, asked me to play the part of Mrs. Coulson, I hesitantly said, “Oooookay.” I had never played a part in any drama or play in my life! I’m a shy person. But, this was a definite nudge from the Lord. It was scary. This was the climax of the movie! I had to show a lot of emotion. How was I going to pull this off as real? Well, it took a lot of prayer! Two days before the filming, I got dressed up in my period costume and practiced in front of the mirror over and over again all day long. Then, I had Peter film me with our video camera and recorded a whole disc. As we watched it on our TV, I thought, “This just might work!” Then, my kids came over and we showed it to them. As soon as I came on the screen, they started laughing and couldn’t stop. They’d never heard me talk and look like that before. I got insecure, but I left it in the Lord’s hands.

The next day we all met at Boca Raton Bible Chapel for the filming… No pressure! Everyone was excited. Peter and I brought all our Civil War period outfits for everyone to use. The extras were people from the church, West Park Baptist Church, our weekly Bible study group, family and anyone else we could find! It took all day to film the scene for just those few emotional minuets in the movie!

I tried to put myself in Mrs. Coulson’s shoes, as a mother. Her only son was horribly wounded at Gettysburg. She couldn’t be there to gently wipe his brow, give a word of comfort or kiss goodbye. I can’t imagine the sorrow she felt when she received Charlie’s Bible and letter, informing her of his death. But yet, she testified at her church of the wonderful hope she had when she said, “Oh! It is a great joy to know that I shall meet my boy with Jesus in heaven…”
“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8
She was a poor widow from Brooklyn. She told her son, Charlie, when he was five years old, never to touch strong drink. That was the cause of his father’s death. She promised God, that she would raise him to” warn young men against the bitter cup.” Faithfully, she led him in daily Bible reading and prayer, as well as took him to Church. It was there Charlie, at 9 years old, accepted the Lord and dedicated his life. Though he served for only 3 months as a drummer in the army, he continued daily Bible study, prayer and fellowship with other believers. This devotion, along with his mother’s prayers, gave Charlie, who at the time of Gettysburg was now 17 years old, a strong faith to be able to withstand the pain of a double amputation with no drugs. He was more concerned about the soul of the war-hardened Jewish doctor who treated him than for himself.
“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because … he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again”. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

Mrs. Coulson is an example of many mothers in home situations today: ill health, bad marriage, widowed, destitute, alone, living in a time of current uncertainty. The lesson I learned is to trust God and His Word. Continue in prayer. Admonish my children to do the same. There is no guarantee that the road will be easy. Mrs. Coulson’s certainly was not. But, God is faithful and all things will work together for good (Romans 8:28). What God desires is faithfulness to His Word. He blessed her efforts and joy by letting her see the fruit of her son’s witness in Rossvally’s testimony of salvation. It has been an honor to portray this dear woman in the film.
Shaw, S.B., Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer, Grand Rapids, MI.: S.B. Shaw Publisher, 1895, page 36-41.

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