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As I write this, it is Maundy Thursday.

Mindful of the reality that today begins the Triduum of Easter (or at least kicks it off), and that we recall Jesus gathering with the disciples to share together the Passover feast, I can’t help but be a tad nostalgic on this day. Sharing the table on festival holidays is always a time to celebrate family and friends that have touched our lives, that have been there when we needed them (or needed a good kick in the butt), people who have enriched our lives, thus enabling us to enrich the lives of others. Many of us reading this may be planning to connect with family and friends on Easter to sit at table again.

And this is natural – in times of celebration and in times of sorrow and trial, we find that we need these people around us. I have no doubt that Jesus gathered with the twelve because there was no one else he would have wanted with him to share that table, that time with him.

And so, on this day, I am mindful of my family, mindful of my friends, and mindful of the people and places that have helped shape me and prepare me for service. Including my YAV sites.

I would argue this is true for most of us; our YAV sites, in ways expected and unexpected, impacted us and shaped us, and will always have a spot in who we are and why. And the people we have met – at our sites and through the program – continue to share the table with us at the notable occasions (present in reality or just in spirit).

At Transition, we mark the people that we have served with by a lit candle, whether they are present in person or not. It is a reminder that these people are always with us, that we always have people who understand our experience and can help us make sense of it all (or make sense of the world). Whatever we’re faced with, whatever we’re going through, I have found in my years since serving as a YAV that these people are always with me, and are always there for me.

And so, on this Maundy Thursday, moving through the holiness of this weekend, I remember all of you, and give thanks for sharing your life with mine, and for making me better for it. I remember you fondly, and light a candle, speaking your names (if only in my mind). Know that there is always room for you at my table, and remember that you are important.