Three weeks overseas does something to the mind and spirit. I wasn't disengaged. I kept up with what was going on in America and wrote about it in these commentaries and columns. But it helps you focus.
So many things seem irrelevant as my wife and I explored ancient Scottish castles once inhabited by kings and tyrants, good and bad men. Where are they today is the only question that matters. And where will those who fight in Northern Ireland be tomorrow? And what about the political battles in England between a fading Conservative Party and the, for now, triumphant Labor Party? The ultimate question for all of us has been, is, and will always be, "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his own soul?"
You don't have to be my age to understand these things. What are you doing with your life and with your spouse and children that will count forever? Not career, not money, not fame. If you are pursuing these things as goals, they are bound to fail you. If they come as a result of pursuing better objectives, that's different.
But three weeks away from Washington has again caused me to focus on the things that matter most. What some might call a vacation, I consider an experience far more profound.