An African Word Story of Maturity by Joseph A. Bailey
The mythological gods and goddesses of ancient Greece and Rome came from Ancient Africa. One was the Egyptian Goddess Matet-known in Greece as Leucothea and Hebe while in Rome as Luventas, Eos, Ilithya, Mater Matuta, and Aurora. Matet’s name meant “growth” or waxing in strength (i.e. to grow bigger or greater). As was the habit of Egyptian (and later Asian) priestesses, a mythological story of the Ancient Egyptian Goddess Matet, states that she stained her fingers red with henna for religious ceremonies. Her rosy fingers were usually assumed to represent the pink clouds of sunrise. In borrowing her Ancient African story, a Roman myth presentation was that Aurora arose early from her couch on the Eastern Ocean, wearing a saffron-colored mantle. Then she climbed onto a golden chariot drawn by white horses. After insuring the sun was situated properly on the chariot, she and the sun journeyed across the heavens, proclaiming in the process the rising of the day-both to the mortals and to the immortals.
Within this dawn to sunset journey are African concepts related to “Maturity” (etymologically, its essence is “Earliness” of the morning). Maturity signifies the growing up to be “ripe,” full-grown, and fully developed in its cycle of growth. From there, one grows old, like Matet’s chariot progressing towards night. The Mature, as I think of them, are: (1) on a Spiritual Elements path-Unconditional Love, Truth, Reality, and the Natural; (2) possess the “5Ss”-safety, security, sureness/self-confidence, strength, and stability-for withstanding trials and tribulations; (3) far along in developing their natural inclinations headed toward goals; (4) benefitted from their own and other’s experiences by wisely using extracted lessons from problems and successes; (5) reconcilers of anxiety producing situations; (6) opportunists in finding pleasure in the natural things of life; (7) being able to take care of oneself and at least one other; (8) shed the bad and the useless while cultivating things of worth; (9) neither working simply for others or simply for oneself-but rather doing Win-Win work whereby everybody benefits; and (10) never passing up the opportunity to enjoy life at appropriate times.
For Mature People, success is not determined by winning or losing but rather by how well, within their integrity, they compete with themselves to be better and better every day and in every way. They know those forms of happiness derived from a hard fought struggle — whether won or not — head them towards their ultimate destination. Because Mature People are true to themselves, along their journey they define success at each stepping stone as having done their best in caring and effort. Examples of success upon arriving at stepping stones include feeling useful; feeling satisfied with “who I am”; and “liking the means I used for arriving.”
In between their daily activities they recognize in their experiences in Nature a piece of success at every “Perfect Moment” or moment of fulfillment-as occurs with watching a flock of birds flying overhead or enjoying a beautiful “sunrise.” On their death beds they define success by achievements related to the Love Platter-the instinct to Love; to spread Love; to be Loved; and to be Lovable- both embracing oneself and others. They are satisfied that at their arrived destination: “I am now a better person for having gone through tough problems”; and “I have left things better than when found.” Their outer world success might be measured by the sum total of their lifetime work products-meaning the “big picture” of achievements far outweighs their individual failures, missteps (which are cause for regret), and trials and tribulations (i.e. troubles and difficulties). But whether recognized or not, they are successful from simply having followed their own truth and making the most of their lonely journey into new frontiers.
The mature are not only able to keep their own lives in order but are able to help others by example, in guidance, or otherwise. They never give up on what is intuited to be “Right.” [Ref: Bailey, Good Character; Bailey, Private Selfhood Greatness in Black Americans].
About Dr. Joseph Bailey
Joseph A. Bailey II, MD, FACS, was reared in Wilson and Greensboro, North Carolina where he became an Eagle Scout (twice). Then he attended the University of Michigan, Morehouse College, and Meharry Medical School; interned at Los Angeles County General Hospital; and as a USA Air Force captain in the Philippines was chief of the Family Practice Clinic in charge of 10,000 troops and their families. On off-duty hours he helped care for wounded soldiers flown in from Viet Nam.