Home never felt so good

The Chronicle building in downtown Centralia, Wash. is illuminated on the evening of Jan. 7, 2013.

The Chronicle building in downtown Centralia, Wash. is illuminated on the evening of Jan. 7, 2013.

I’m home again.

I arrived in Centralia, Washington on Saturday after three days of driving and 31 hours of total time behind the wheel. The journey brought me from Springfield, Mo., on Thursday to a city just over 2,000 miles away — and it puts me 50 miles from full circle once again.

It feels just a little bit surreal that I am actually here. Over my two years in Springfield, I began to foster an intense fondness for the Northwest that I never knew I had. I missed my home like never before, but at the same time I knew I would return someday.

While it feels surreal to be back, it’s been very calm. My return has been carefully planned out, and I’m working once again for the newspaper I once served for two years from early 2010 to early 2012. My first day of my “second term” as a print reporter at The Chronicle went well, with me writing a couple briefs and interviewing a few folks for stories.

It is necessary to take a moment and reflect on my time in Springfield. While I missed the Northwest more than ever, I developed many friendships in the Queen City of the Ozarks that I will carry with me for years. Over a two-year period, I matured greatly and much of that was thanks to friends who were not afraid to speak some sense to me at times (Aaron B., I’m looking at you in particular).

On Sunday, I went to church for the first time in awhile. It was good to be back at Life Center, the church I attended for the majority of my time here a couple years ago. It felt like home instantly, and many of my friends gathered for a dinner later that evening to welcome me back. It was an incredibly warm welcome from them, and it warmed my heart to once again be in the presence of beloved friends.

It feels like Lewis County is much the same way I left it, but with a few positive changes. There are a lot of people here that are working to make the community better, and you can tell their efforts are bearing fruit. There is a lot of work to do to make Centralia great once again, but again there are people here that can get it done.

Yes, I returned here because I missed it and I really missed working for the newspaper. There was nothing quite like being a go-to reporter for your specific beat, and it’s great to fill that role once again. But I also realize this time around that the second iteration of my life in Lewis County carries a higher calling, and that is to reach out to those in need.

I will soon be seeking out some volunteer opportunities to help disadvantaged people in as many capacities as I can. I spoke with my dear friend Holly from Tacoma on the phone yesterday and shared with her that I feel my time here will be different than last time, simply because I feel a tremendous burden on my heart to take my focus off of myself and put my energy into helping others.

My time here in Lewis County will be about putting the greatest lesson I ever learned into action. I look forward to doing so.

It’s great to be home, that’s for sure. I feel a peace about being here, and I know for a fact it is where I’m supposed to be.

Hopefully I’ll be here awhile. A long while.

3 Comments

  1. Reply
    Jason Wert January 8, 2014

    It’s so uplifting so see the way God worked in your life to refine you for a season in Springfield and then return you to the place where your heart never left. Big things are on the horizon there and it’s such a joy to see your joy in doing something that you love to do. Many of us are secretly green with envy toward you over that. :)

  2. Reply
    Brian January 8, 2014

    Glad to have you back, Chris. I appreciate the heart and enthusiasm you bring to your stories. Your zest for life shines through. Welcome home!

  3. Reply
    Kimberly Mason January 8, 2014

    Lewis County NEEDS you here, Chris, way more than you need it. The businesses on your beat will welcome your return with gladness. I had often heard your praises sung when I was out on a story, I’m sure they’ll be sung again!

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