Singer shares song to benefit victims
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 31, 2005 1:46 PM
Around 5 Tuesday morning, D.J. Coles was jolted from a sound sleep, words of a song swirling around in his head. It took a moment to realize that the haunting lyrics were the words he had written several months earlier during personal struggles of his own.
Perhaps now they can be used to heal and bless others who need them, he thought.
Coles, a health educator with WATCH, had recently finished recording an album of Christian songs he expected to be released in the fall. The title song, "Your Grace," took on a prophetic tone this week in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
"The song starts out, 'I have been twisted and torn, weary and worn, O Father, I'm in need. I have been broken and bruised, felt useless and used, O Father, I'm in need."
It goes on to say, "Help me through the pain, help me see through the rain, as I seek your grace," he said.
The message of peace within turmoil is what made Coles think of the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
"How could I write this song in the beginning of 2005, when I had a really horrible day and my world was coming down around me, and yet in the midst of that, was asked to help raise my head and go from there?" he said. "The timing of this ... I might as well use it to help bless this storm."
Coles said it was no accident that he awakened with the song vividly in mind.
"The Holy Spirit woke me up with that in my heart," he said.
His feelings intensified after watching the morning news coverage of the storm's aftermath. He said he was especially affected by seeing "Good Morning America" newscaster Robin Roberts announcing from her hometown in Louisiana and moments later hearing a man share how he had to let go of his wife's hand during the storm to ensure his children's safety.
Coles said he knew he couldn't just sit idle.
"I have the opportunity to take something that's done and hopefully utilize it to bless someone else," he said.
He spent most of the day Tuesday enlisting the support of his pastor and record company to use his upcoming album to raise money for those who needed it.
"However many albums I sell, I want portions of the proceeds to go to the Katrina relief," he said. "If I'm attempting to do an album, it's not for being famous; it's to help people."
The record company supported the idea and offered to speed up the album's release. Coles said he expects it will come out regionally in September, with national release projected for the spring.
Coles said even though the words of the song weighed heavily on his mind this week, it contains a healing message, one he hopes will benefit those who survived a devastating event.
He said he will draw comfort in knowing his recording will not just turn a profit, but "that people can know it's going to help somebody rebuild their house, get back on their feet; that's what I'm praying."
The youth minister on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base said his church has also been prompted to become involved in the relief efforts.
"We were working on a missions trip to Honduras," he said. "If we don't make enough to go on that trip, we have decided to take a bus and go to Louisiana or Mississippi for a week and build houses, wherever they'll take us."
For more information about the release, Coles can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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