Sources of Joy: A Full and Abundant Life

These past seven weeks have been a complete whirlwind.

To give a very condensed recap, since early May, I’ve driven to New Orleans and back to pick up Aidan,  flown to New York for the Dart Society fundraiser, traveled with our family, Dad and his life-long friend Lee to his hometown in Germany, and finished up an eight-page health supplement for Hoy.

That was all before last Wednesday, when I flew to Boston for the Investigative Reporters and Editors conference.

I first went to the conference in 2006, when four of us from The Chicago Reporter went to Dallas to listen to and learn from investigative reporters from around the world.

Being around people whose work I had read and admired was a life thrill and a source of tremendous energy.

Continuing to go back in most of the years since then has given me that same jolt of excitement and inspiration. 

The past three years I’ve been able to present on a number of panels.

This year, though, was different.

Because it was in my home town, Mom was able to attend.

She arrived early, light blue hat on head, pushing her walker ahead of her with strength and vigor, and sitting in the front row of the panel I moderated and presented at about investigating prison abuse. 

We in the Dart Society co-sponsored the panel with the Dart Center.  Cindy Chang of the Times-Picayune in New Orleans spoke about her voluminous eight-part series centered on Louisiana’s having the highest rate of prisoners in the country, Susie Greene talked about her riveting film, The Gray Box, a chronicle of solitary confinement, and Wendy Halloran of WHNT-TV in Phoenix discussed her multi-part look at a prisoner who guards watched bleed to death after a suicide attempt he made with a razor they had allowed him to have.  

It was powerful stuff, and Mom’s being there only added to my sense of good fortune.

The panel was just one of many gifts I received during my four days in Boston.

I visited and ate with family. 

I saw childhood friends Edgar Howe and Arthur Sneider.

I spent time with mentors and friends Paul Tamburello, Dave Russell and Alan Stoskopf.

Fernando and I met and made plans for collaborations with colleagues from publications and communities all over the world. 

We also drove up to Maine, where we conducted a riveting interview with a key source for an upcoming story.  

At the conference I reconnected with fellow investigative folks, met new colleagues, got new tips and story ideas, and generally wove more strands into the fabric of my relationship with that community. 

The time was full, at times crushingly so. 

But I kept my head, made sure to breather and again realized that there is great richness and abundance in life if you are open to experiencing it.

This of course was before I returned home to Dunreith and Aidan, who picked me up at the airport, Father’s Day gift and cards in tow. 

For much of my childhood and early adulthood, I lived life in a straight line, moving through experiences and then moving onto the next one.

I feel extraordinarily privileged to have come to the place where I’ve understood the almost inexpressibly profound joy one can experience through return and  reconnection and the integration of people who matter to you, through sharing old memories and forging news ones, and through living under the belief that bringing your deepest-held dreams to reality is possible. 

I am grateful. 

 

6 responses to “Sources of Joy: A Full and Abundant Life

  1. iul79luc@gmail.com

    Hi, this is an intriguing experience that you shared. Do you happen to know the e-mail of Phyllis Adelman. It is about an article that her late husband wrote inTri Quarterly.

    • jeffkellylowenstein3

      Thanks for your note. I don’t know if she has email, but can check and see if she’s willing to share her phone number.

      Jeff

  2. Jeff,

    Great to see you in Boston last week! I am also grateful to have good friends and family like you! My brother from another mother!!

    Edgar

  3. The source of energy at Champions in the Marriott Boston last Thursday night wasn’t only from the scores of plasma TVs blazing the Heat/Thunder game. The most incandescent energy was flowing from the cadre of IRE attendees to whom you introduced me as “Hey, this is my fourth grade teacher Paul Tamburello!” Thank you.

    It was great to meet the Tribune data/ graphics fellow (Joe?) you’d told me about working with in your earliest days at Hoy, and Miles Moffeit, award winning Denver Post investigative reporter and former president of the Dart Society, Brant Houston, (former?) executive director of IRE, and Bryan, a transplant from the midwest who specializes in web content at The Boston Globe and others whose names elude me now. What an extraordinary and talented group!

    Sorry I missed meeting Fernando and your friend David Russell…next time. And I can just see your mom sitting proudly in the first row in her favorite colors. What a weekend.

    Remember the “You Can Do Anything” series you instituted while teaching with me 1987-89? You wanted to give kids in 4T examples of the range of possibilities they could attain if they stuck with their aspirations. You’re doing just that!

    You might be living your life in a straight line but it’s as wide as the Champs Elysées!

    • jeffkellylowenstein3

      Right back at you, my friend! It’s always a treat to connect and spend time with you. Thanks for making the space to spend time with part of my crew!

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