If we love each other, God lives in us. / by Sarah Schwartz

"I can't stop puking," my roommate half whispered, half moaned, standing in the doorway between her bedroom and the living room. "I think I need to go to the ER."

I nodded, throwing on a worn green sweatshirt and grabbing my keys.

"Let's go," I motioned, and out the door we went.

There's a bad stomach bug going around, and my roommate is it's latest victim. A few minutes after checking in at the front desk, we were ushered into a room where a nurse quickly hooked her up to an IV and administered a round of anti-nausea medication. Having been up half the night bowing at the porcelain altar, she quickly drifted off to sleep to the murmur of a made for TV movie playing from the upper left corner of the room.

I grabbed my phone so I could look over my notes for a midterm I have this week. It's an essay exam, and one of the prompts reads, "Explain how marriage is the best picture we have of the Divine."

Something about this question doesn't sit well with me. I believe that the love and commitment we see in marriages is, without a doubt, a beautiful picture of the love of God to humanity, and the love the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit share with each other. But it's not the only picture. And calling it the best picture seems to insinuate that Divine love is demonstrated just a little less in relationships that aren't marriage.

But this is my life and this is my community, sans husband, and I see examples of Divine love all around me.

I see it in the love my friends and I share and the lives that we're building as we learn what it means to be grown ups, and navigate the excitement, uncertainty, and chaos that is our early twenties.

I see it in the way we know how we each take our coffee, and surprise each other on tired mornings before work with wishes for a good day.

I see it when we show up for each other when it's hard, when it's inconvenient, when everything in us doesn't want to. I see it in the ways we're present with each other in heartbreak, confusion, and discouragement.

I see it when I come home at the end of the day and find my bed has been made, because my best friend knows that it makes me feel just a little bit better about the state of my life.

I see it in our courage to let ourselves be loved, particularly when we feel unlovable. I see it in the ferocity of our commitment to each other in our best, and especially our worst moments.

I see it when we're spending yet another slow Saturday afternoon folding laundry and watching BeyoncΓ© videos, just happy to be in the same room as each other.

I see it in the ways we're honest, even when it's difficult. When we wade into tough conversations because we love each other too much to operate on a surface level.

I see it in the thousand small choices we make everyday to make each other feel loved and known; in all the moments we choose to put each other first.

I see it when we spend 7 hours on a Sunday in the emergency room helping each other in and out of hospital gowns, searching for Diet Dr. Pepper in the cafeteria, and watching a High School Musical marathon.

The apostle John writes, "No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us." (1 John 4:12)

If I get married one day, I'm sure I'll see the love of God imaged in that relationship in it's own unique way. But I'm not holding my breath, thinking what I have now is worth less, or is some watered down version of the Divine. Because when these ragamuffin souls I call my friends and I love each other, He comes alive in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us. Nothing less.