This is a photo of the British actor, Christian Cooke. I saw him the other day in a 2012 film, *Unconditional Love.* It is a gay-themed story about Liam (played by Mr. Cooke), a confused man in his twenties, who almost certainly is gay but who can’t admit that he is gay, even to himself. Liam is a loan shark who meets a 17-year-old boy, Owen, while negotiating a loan for Owen’s sister. Liam is attracted to Owen and seems to fall immediately in love with Owen. One problem: Liam can express his affection and desire only when Owen lets Liam dress him as a woman. Liam sees Kristen (his name for Owen when Owen is in drag) as the most beautiful woman in the world. Owen, as Kristen, is the epitome of beauty for Liam. The movie tells the story of the doomed relationship between these two needy men. The story, and the movie, are both sexy and very sad. Liam finds out that what he most wants in this world is impossible for him to have.
I have been in Liam’s shoes. Once in my life I fell in love (lust?) with a guy who , for several reasons, was out of my reach. The experience lasted for about 5 years. Five years of pain and misery. Making the experience worse was the fact that the guy over whom I obsessed for so long knew what I desired in him and from him (I was graphically honest with him), but still loved me. . . only as a friend. I ended the relationship, causing lasting hurt to both of us. For me, there was nothing else I could do. Like Liam in the movie, I wanted what I just could not have. The pain of that desire was almost unbearable at times. So that I could get on with my “real” life, I had to get away from the guy whom, by the way, I still love.
All these years later, I live in peace and I am a fairly happy man. But I’ll never forget those five years and the desire that nearly destroyed me. When I watched this movie, I felt a little of that awful pain all over again.
As I told the guy whom I desired, nothing in life is worse than wanting what you cannot have. For me, the experience of this guy was both beautiful and deadly. I survived, by the grace of God, but it was close. The experience allows me to understand people, like Liam, who, in one way or another, go crazy when fulfillment of desire is not possible. I see it all around me, and I feel for the people going through it. Some never make it through the ordeal. I pray today that God will heal the hearts and the minds of people, especially of gay men, who want what they cannot have. I pray that God will teach them as God has taught me, that peace isn’t in the absence of such desire, but in finding the proper object for it. For me, that has been a saving – literally a saving – grace.
Pax et bonum,