Who is Gary the Poet's Pen?
I was born Gary Dean Cox and I was born to write poetry. As I share about my life in the following, you will notice that I experienced many struggles, joys and hardships that afforded me a plethora of emotions. I draw from these experiences that ooze into my poetry. Perhaps the most prominent example of this is described in the poem, I Have Paid My Dues.
I was born on June 18, 1968 in Iowa City, Iowa. My name means youthful warrior of God. I have 3 sisters via my mother and my parents conceived 3 more sisters after I was born. My parents were divorced in 1981 and I remembered my dad being very physically and emotionally abusive to his family. Some of my poems speak to this in great detail. I carried the scars of this time in my life even until I was fifty years old. Neither of my parents attended church, nor put the Lord at the center of their lives. I am very thankful for my grandmas and other care providers who prayed for me. The seeds of love that they planted in me before dying pointed me to the Lord.
I do remember my mother before she passed in various letters trying to reestablish a relationship with her children. Via the birth of her grandchildren, she was able to become closer to my sisters. I was not at a point in my life to reconcile or have children, thus I wasted a potential chance at healing.
My mom, three younger sisters and I moved to Texas for a year in 1982 to get away from my dad. It was a beautiful year as we h adjoining BLM land. By the grace of God, I graduated high school in 1986 and joined the US Navy in July that summer.
I had a semi successful military career and served in Operation Desert Shield and Storm in 1990-1991. I saw many tours of Gitmo while serving on board the USS Yellowstone (AD-41). I do regret not pursuing a career in journalism while in the Navy. I left the active duty Navy in 1993 to pursue a romantic relationship that was a comedy of errors. As the song goes, I was always looking for love in all of the wrong places. At this time in particular, I was courting a young lady who lived in Haifa, Israel. I ended the relationship when I realized that I was never going to be able to make her happy.
Fast forward, after relocating back to the states, I got a good job working for General Electric in 1997. I met a person who was attending James Madison University, we courted and then married in 1998. It was the first marriage for both of us and neither of us had surrendered to the Lord’s perfect will. We decided not to have children and it was a carnal marriage that lasted as long as conditions were ideal and pristine. We divorced in 2007 and I remember my dog Farley from that time. I still had NOT fully surrendered to the Lord at this time.
I landed a great gig in Richmond VA working for Circuit City. I eventually got a job working for the corporate offices and was making as much money as I had ever before. I sought a lasting relationship with the opposite gender, but again to no avail. When Circuit City went bankrupt in 2009, I thought it was the end of my world…and yet, no surrender. There would be much more pain to follow. The Lord, in His mercy, keeps allowing us to be in situations to teach us until we are malleable in our spirits.
In hindsight, in one of the most stupid decisions of my life; I decided to move back in with my sister for a while to get myself together. The Valley had 3 separate snowstorms that winter, each of them dumped more than 40 inches of snow. To make matters worse, many of my teen/tween nieces and nephews lived there in the same household. I will remember being called by them as a fat, old, bitter and worthless man for as long as I live. It was a very painful time in my life. I was 41 years old at this point and my health had started to decline by this point.
In my pride and stubbornness, I still did not surrender. In another attempt at true love, I reconnected with someone from high school and my days from General Electric. Ever the hopeful romantic, we had a carnal and dysfunctional romance that lasted for three years. Because of the economy and/or $5.00 a gallon gasoline, I was unable to find steady, gainful employment. We parted ways and I was homeless for the first time, ever. This was not the last time that I experienced homelessness and destitution. And yet, there was STILL no full surrender.
I moved in with another sister and then my niece for a period. Praise the Lord, He was not done with me yet. I found lucrative employment and I worked 78 days in row with mostly a twelve hour shift. I was able to save money and get a place of my own. All was fairly stable and normal in my life until June 2016, when I suffered 4 heart attacks in a span of 4 hours. One of the heart attacks is commonly referred to as the widow maker. I clinically died, was resuscitated and in a coma for a few days. When I came to, I did not recall a good or a bad near death experience. I mostly remembered being hungry and how much pain a heart attack caused. It is incredulous to believe me say this, but I was NOT YET READY TO SURRENDER TO THE LORD’S WILL FOR MY LIFE!!!
I lived like a tumbleweed for a while and eventually found myself homeless yet again. My saving grace was that the US Navy evaluated my service and gave me a full retirement pension with full medical benefits. I pursued an online relationship with someone from the Philippines and then set out to tour the USA. I still had not fully surrendered. The relationship did not last. In my process of surrendering, the Lord made it clear to me that the relationship should end. I obeyed and am glad that I did.
As I continued on my journey to fully surrendering to the Lord, I found myself in Missouri meeting up with a widow named Amy Dixon. She had been given a great commission/feeling of love towards me that was undeniably from the Lord. I was given a dream in which Jesus Himself asked me if I was ready to fully surrender my life as per His perfect will. I was given a vision of Amy and I together, married and happy. Finally in 2017 I obeyed and fully surrendered to His perfect will for my life. This is unlike any relationship that I have ever previously pursued. Ours is a relationship based on trust, faith, spirit, common goals, patience and commitment; NOT CARNALITY.
Jesus was the matchmaker for us and it works so much better than the Gary’s low budget production of The Bachelor. In 2017, I finally fully surrendered at last and am now blessed to be a husband to my bride Amy and a daddy to our 8 year old daughter named Bella. As I am a daddy by faith and not by biology, it is a challenge to say the least. Bella and I have a really good relationship and are similar in many ways. Many not in the know are surprised to learn that I am not her biological daddy. Bella says she has 3 daddy’s; her daddy in heaven, Father God and me.
What else is there to know about me? I have a great love of poetry, singing, over landing and Scrabble. My wife and I own a 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD and both like to cook. My current cross to bear and challenge is my lack of fitness. I am 75 pounds overweight and am committed to being healthier again.
Last note for now: After having sung in a choir of some capacity since age 4 and an estimated 5000 public performances; it is quite different for me now. I will perhaps again sing more often and in a more public way, but am perfectly happy being Mr. Mom. I am a homeschool teacher and am a highly blessed man. I give the Lord the glory for this message and my life in particular. I received a Christian baptism in 2012 and am glad to have done so.
***REGARDING MY POETRY***
I remember around age 28, I started to write poetry. At first, it seemed strange to me as I was far from an academic person. But I have always had a great desire to learn words, origins and a gleaning from other languages. I also found that as I wrote, I healed. If I could get my ideas and thoughts out on paper, they would no longer hold me a prisoner of my past.
As I believe that Jesus Christ is THE poet, I believe by faith that I am His pen. That is to say, one of many instruments by which the Lord expresses His thoughts today. Nothing of what I write is intended to replace His holy word, but rather to accentuate what is already written.
Some of my influences when I write are Scripture, life experiences, John Denver, nature, and children. I will have transcribed all 150 Psalms, interpreted into a modern vernacular before the end of 2020. I give the Lord Jesus the glory for my writing and I have penned over 500 original poems since moving to Missouri in 2017. In my blog, you will find a sampling of some of these poems.
It is when my poems cause someone to cry, laugh, shout, write or feel something that I know my gift is real and my calling genuine. I am a narrow caster, much more so than a broadcaster and accept this as such. If in the course of reading one of my poems, you are thus inspired to pray or write; then I feel validated. But regardless of who may or may not “like” or approve, I shall spend my days on Earth writing poetry as the Lord intended.
Lastly, also as the Lord intended, I am blessed to have my Amy as my wife, BFF, and prayer partner.