Biddy was born into slavery in Mississippi. When she died in 1891 she was one of the wealthiest women in Los Angeles. What did she do move from one end of the spectrum to another? She saved the $2.50 fee she received as a midwife and began buying plots of land worth $250, knowing that eventually that land would increase in value. She accomplished this after suing her master for her freedom upon learning that in her new home of California slavery was illegal. Though her master bribed her lawyer not to show in court, she won her freedom. She was one of the first African America women to own property, which she turned into a legacy and source of hope for generations to come. She fought, believed, acted and was open to all life had to offer.
It was always Biddy’s philosophy that “an open hand is blessed, for it gives in abundance even as it receives.” Her courage and attitude remind us that being open is not just an action but an attitude. We must choose to believe in the bigger picture, being able to see and fully understand that an open, empty hand has immense possibilities, not just emptiness. It means saying and living “yes” even when we are unable to see the end game.
Success happens when opportunity and preparedness meet. An open hand and heart provides the uncharted options, possibilities beyond our imagination. If we keep our hand closed to feel safe, in control or even because it makes us feel stronger we are missing the opportunity of something better, bigger, even bodacious being put into our lives. We must prepare our hearts and minds to be open by demonstrating the same thing with our hands. When mind and body are in agreement amazing elements enter our lives and move us beyond where our humble beginnings would have us stay.
Biddy Mason reminds us that who we are now can and will change when we approach the world with open hands and an open heart. Flex your fingers, spread our your hands and allow yourself to be open to what the future has in store.