The website upworthy.com recently posted this video. (If you can, click here to watch it, then read on.) Anyone who has lived in New York City knows that just about every subway ride involves a panhandler or two or eight walking up and down the car, telling their story, and asking for money. The story often involves a large family, a fall from grace, unexpected expenses such as from an injury, or accolades that no longer help the person. This man took that story (and its usual cadence) and flipped it on its head, turning it into a tale of success and happiness.
T’shuvah, “repentance,” shares its root with the word lashuv, to turn. The point of making T’shuvah is that we try to turn away from the behavior we wish to change. We alter our path, try to take a different course, and make active changes in our lives. It is a turn towards a positive change in our lives. The Upworthy video shows a different aspect of T’shuvah: once we have made successful changes in our lives, it is good to celebrate, to acknowledge the good things that we or others have done, and to take a hand shake, a high five, or a hug. Our own positive changes can have lasting impact on others, inspiring them to change because they see that it is possible.