I paused outside the door for a few seconds. Tucking a few things under cover so they wouldn't get wet in the rain, I thought that after hundreds of times like this, this may be my last. I walked to my car amid the drops and the dark stillness. Most of Clatskanie was in bed, as they usually are when I leave work on late Tuesday nights or early Wednesday mornings.
Today was my last day at The Clatskanie Chief, the local weekly newspaper where I have worked for almost 11 years, helping put together close to 560 editions. It seemed fitting that today (Tuesday), our deadline day, I worked on the last issue of 2009 and my final one for this chapter of my life.
I remember back to the day in late July 1998 when I was interviewed for the job. I recall how nervous I was, what I was wearing and where I sat. Looking back, I admire my boss for hiring a pretty shy and very green young lady who was just beginning to emerge from her shell of shyness. Because of her patience and wonderful way of instruction, I have learned far more than a college journalism course or an internship at a larger newspaper could ever teach me.
But, more importantly, God has used my job to stretch and grow me in ways I could not imagine. What I have gained personally, socially, emotionally and spiritually far outweighs the skills I have acquired professionally. God has used times of stress and seemingly insurmountable challenges, boring meetings, complicated school board budgets and tough stories to cause me to rely heavily on Him and in the process, strengthen my faith and character. It hasn't been all hard, though. There have also been times of joy, satisfaction, exhilaration and fun as I have worked with fun co-workers, interviewed interesting people, completed an engaging or informative piece and become acquainted with many in the communities The Chief covers.
I am grateful for the skills and lessons I have learned at the newspaper and I believe they will prove useful in Uganda and wherever else God takes me in the future.
Now that this week's paper has been put to bed, I believe I will head there, too. Good night, Chief, and thanks for the memories.