Beyond the Data

Parent teacher conferences: two long days and countless others to prepare for them.

Mountains of data to climb

and conquer.

… Just hoping to bring some kind of sense of knowing – to them… to me.


But then the Stories come walking through the door.

Stories of heartache and concern.

Stories of fear and confusion.

Stories filled with Life – in all its messy goodness, along with all the bad:

She had life-threatening disease when she was five. She will have to live in its aftermath all her life. Now her Dad’s live-in girlfriend is breaking dishes over her head.

He’s abused me in front of my children. They wake up crying, they’re telling me they wish they weren’t alive.

I’m a single parent. I’m doing the best I can, but I never knew how hard it is to raise kids. I didn’t have a good role model. I know I need to do things differently. But this is so hard.

And the Stories keep coming, and coming– dressed in tales of dragons and princesses. Tales of dreams that beckon just beyond the rainbow walk through my classroom door – most with anxious eyes.

Stories dressed as families, appearing like life-filled bubbles made in one sweep of the wand, sent soaring to the clouds in all their translucent beauty – hoping desperately not to be the one that pops.


Suddenly, and oh so gratefully, curriculum and grades drop to the wayside like the meaningless facades of normalcy they are.

… And my eyes are opened again to see Lives. Real. people. with. real. stories.

Stories to be a part of.

Stories to pray Hope straight to the middle of.

Stories to be carried away by

and make a difference in.




Seeing beyond the blasted data.


Once again I am nudge purposefully with the reminder of His Truth:


There is no “accomplishment” worth a data hill of beans…

There is only Love.

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6 thoughts on “Beyond the Data

  1. Oh Jane…once again…in the way of the artist you capture so many meanings with your words and your photos… I knew this would be a special one so I saved its reading for this a.m to start my day and be reminded once again what a lovely and talented ” little sister” I have. Thank you for this It is perfect It is once again a reminder about what counts. And as I count down to completing my little “The Tale of R-Qu” story I am reminded once again of our rich storytelling Irish heritage and how blessed we Sullivan kids are. You are a wonderful writer and artist Jane. I love you and am proud of you Jeane

  2. Precious insight poetically phrased! And, as usual, your photography is awesome ( or however it is you manage such breathtaking illustrations)… Hey, before you become rich and famous, may I have your autograph ? 🙂

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