Love Like Fiction

"Love like that only happens in the movies," admits the cynic, convinced that he will never love like he learns about in fiction. But I'm a hopeless optimist. I do believe in finding a love like those found in fiction. As a matter of fact, every couple that loves one another makes a conscious choice as to how deep their love runs, as to how they grow together -- a compound unity that is diverse, distinct, inseparable and indestructible.

I want a love like fiction: to love and be in love. When I say that I love someone, I mean that your life is preferable to mine, that I would die for you. This is a self-sacrificial love. When I say that I am in love with you, I mean that you have captured my complete attention, and my heart I trustfully place in your hands. I am never exhausted from being in your presence, from holding you so close that breath nearly escapes us, from hearing "I love you" by gentle kisses that affirm the creed. Do you have a love like fiction?

I want a love like fiction: to love and be loved. I long to be wanted and to want for only one and for a lifetime. No amount of temptation from another could dare compare with you. No matter the mask, no matter the brawn, he could never in a million years be you. Though he conquer the world he pales by comparison to you.

I want a love like fiction: a love in which insecurities vanish into nothingness -- a love in which contextual vulnerabilities are honored -- in which frailties are cherished and protected. This love does not erode but, on the contrary, deepens, expands, grows as high as mountains. This love is unlike the futile exercise of chasing the wind. This love captures the tornado and establishes its necessary yet loving boundaries.

I want a love like fiction: not an intense love to fear but to embrace -- a love that is pure, not founded on sex, but one that is sacred. A sacred love is set apart from all other loves. This love is shared and experienced by only these two unique souls for a lifetime. This love does not share time (like a prison sentence) but moments: a quiet starry night, a sunset in a fiery blaze, a loving embrace that neither wants to end. When these two are apart, the heart of the one is beating mightily within the heart of the other, and where one is, there too is the other, for they are ever-present. These two are interwoven, enmeshed, everlastingly combined. Two become one.

No, I don't have a love like fiction, though the craving remains. At 48 years old, being 21 years single, the ache for a love like fiction has become a virus that is consuming my existence. But only because I would not allow myself this love for over two decades. Fear and dread have kept me at bay for so long that I had given up hope in finding a love like fiction. Robert Frost writes, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I / I took the one less traveled by / And that has made all the difference." Let us think deeply about his concluding remark.

Just because he "took the one less traveled by" does not mean that "the difference" was positive. Often people assume the best rather than the worst when reading this piece. What if, by taking the road less traveled, the person tumbles to his death? Well, taking that path did indeed make all the difference, but not for the better. For 21 years I have been walking on the road less traveled, by others in my similar life-circumstance, and that difference has taken its toll on me in ways that I do not at all appreciate. Up ahead, though, I see two roads diverging. I wonder what the other road is like. On that road will I find a love like fiction?


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My name is William Birch and I grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition but converted, if you will, to Anglicanism in 2012. I am gay, affirming, and take very seriously matters of social justice, religion and politics in the church and the state.