LIFE AND THE JOURNEY OF CHARLES COGHLAN
By DANNY MINTON
Charles Coghlan was born in 1841 on Prince Edward Island to a poor Irish family. Neighbors helped him get a good education, but after school, he decided that he wanted to be an actor.
Infuriated, his father disowned him, and Charles left home to pursue his career. One day he visited a fortune teller who told him that he would be very famous but die in the prime of his career. His soul would never rest until it was buried on his homeland of Prince Edward Island.
Charles did become a great popular actor of the late 1800’s traveling the States entertaining audiences all over. In the late 1800’s he came to Texas and ended up in Galveston. One night on stage he collapsed and died. He was buried on Galveston Island in a lead-lined coffin in 1899. Then in 1900, a great hurricane engulfed Galveston Island killing thousands, destroying homes, ripping up trees and uncovering graves. One of those graves was that of Charles Coghlan. Charles’ coffin was washed out into the Gulf of Mexico by the waves that overcame the island.
The coffin floated in the salty waters of the Gulf, making its way around the Florida Keys and into the Atlantic Ocean. The coffin took an eight-year journey from Galveston and up the Atlantic coastline until one day in 1908 a ship saw a box floating in the waters of the North Atlantic. Bringing the box aboard, the sailors noticed the plaque on the barnacle-encrusted box with the name Charles Coghlan. The ship that found the coffin was just off the sandbar coast of Prince Edward Island. Charles Coghlan had come home and was buried not far from the small church where he had been christened as a baby.
Legend or fact, this story does have a good point about the journey we all must take before we can truly rest. That journey is life itself. Life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns and can be very stressful at times. People feel lost, confused and upset that life doesn’t seem to be going the way they expected it to lead them. In confusion, people sink into depression and contemplate what their life is all about. Does it have a purpose? What does tomorrow hold? People become tired and weary wondering if life is worthwhile. However, the one thing that a Christian has over the world is that he or she has a rest to look forward to in the future and no matter where life takes us, we will eventually end up resting in the arms of God.
One nice thing too, is that God takes care of us as we make this journey even though we may not know how to get there. As long as we let Him lead, we will never be lost, and eventually, we’ll find ourselves at home. “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;” Is. 42:16
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ