The Best Kind of Partying

A spiritual look at issues of interest to young people

Do you enjoy partying? You may say that everyone enjoys it. However, when I started going to parties, I often found myself feeling intensely alone. I wanted to enjoy the party atmosphere. I wanted companionship and I wanted to have fun. But that wasn't what I found at many of the parties I attended.

In my home country, underage drinking is common, and I drank alcoholic drinks to fit in. I began smoking to feel better about my image. But when I interacted with others, I still often felt

awkward. Even dancing, which I liked, didn't stop me from feeling isolated.

I was constantly yearning for a romantic relationship to develop, but that generally didn't happen, and I'd feel frustrated. The times it did happen, the relationships were fleeting and insubstantial.

Despite all this, it never occurred to me not to go to parties. The expectation of better times at each new party kept me going back for more. In the midst of my most intense party-going period, I found an approach to life that helped me improve my interactions with other people at all times, including at parties, and also helped me look beyond partying to find happiness. This is a way of life you could call "partying with God." It involves learning who God is and how to get to know Him. (It even helped me eventually to find the special relationship I was looking for, and we got married.)

God is good alone, and according to the Bible we are each truly His image, His spiritual expression (see Genesis 1:26). We know God through qualities that reflect His good and perfect nature. Each of us expresses the qualities of God, such as unselfishness, happiness, warmth, and affection. I learned I could express these qualities. Doing this makes life a constant adventure. It doesn't require alcohol, drugs, or smoking. And it doesn't have any of the detrimental effects these can bring. God has already made this way of life His gift to every one of us. We express God whenever we express joy, love, energy, and vitality.

I found that by learning to pray, by learning to live in the ways that are in line with God-in line with good-we realize more of our true identity.

If you don't feel that joy and vitality are inherent in your nature, it may be that you have a material view of your identity instead of a spiritual one. Only by understanding ourselves to be linked to God can we change this view and learn how to feel and be happy, whether partying with friends or not.

I remember one all-night party when I felt particularly out of place. By then I had given up drinking and smoking because I felt that they interfered with my ability to get to know God better. I remember I prayed while dancing by myself that night, and I left the party early, while others were still crashed out on the floor.

As I walked alone through the neighborhood just after dawn, the most wonderful feeling of goodness overtook me. This was prayer, but not a prayer in words. It was a joyful awareness of all creation being aglow with an underlying spiritual substance. I felt absolutely unalone, with God, and totally happy. It felt so good!

Anyone can feel this way. God loves us all equally. All can pray and feel God's love. This doesn't mean never going to parties. Fun and friendship enrich our lives. But it is worth being alert to what might be involved in a party. I feel I've learned that real friendship means never feeling obliged to do something just because other people are doing it. It allows for listening to God and for trying to do right by Him. This brings happiness.

The textbook of Christian Science says, "Spiritual living and blessedness are the only evidences, by which we can recognize true existence and feel the unspeakable peace which comes from an all-absorbing spiritual love" (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 264). These words, written by Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, certainly describe what I felt that morning. True happiness is unselfish and helps everyone, as Christ Jesus showed in his life of healing love. He promised that those who followed his example would live their lives "more abundantly" (John 10:10).

Spiritual living is an adventure that never stops. And everyone is invited to the party.

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