Break Away or Break Down


President Bush is routinely chastised for leaving Washington D.C. for extended periods of time. Last August, with Congress on its customary summer recess, he was lambasted by a press with nothing better to report than inflated and false claims of the president’s so-called “vacation.”

“Vacationing Bush Poised To Set A Record,” a Washington Post headline read. (Apparently, the short memories at the Post had never heard of Teddy Roosevelt, who effectively moved the White House from D.C. to his home in Sagamore Hills, New York, every year from June through August or, more recently, Lyndon Johnson, who still holds the modern-era five-year record of 484 days at his Texas ranch.)

Reporters dogged Bush almost as much as Cindy Sheehan’s anti-war rallies as the president retreated to Texas, where he studied daily national security briefings, teleconferenced with aides and military leaders, met with foreign leaders, and signed various Presidential documents – all while on “vacation.”

“President Bush is getting the kind of break most Americans can only dream of,” the Post proclaimed. Sheehan’s anti-war machine protested that Bush shouldn’t be at his ranch in Texas at war time, as if he left all of his duties and concern back inside the beltway.

When Hurricane Katrina hit, they criticized Bush for taking a holiday to Arizona and California to address senior citizens on the topic of Medicare reform and prescription drug benefits. Though he likely put in more work hours than the vast majority of Americans during that difficult time, the press didn’t declare his vacation “over” until he went back to Washington D.C. two days later.

The White House countered that such breaks gave the president “a fresh perspective of what’s on the minds of the American people” and time to “shed the coat and tie and meet with folks out in the heartland.”

Beyond all the rhetoric and rancor, there is a higher truth at work here. We all know that no president is ever truly on vacation, but every single one of us must find a way to escape the grind of our regular routine or we will be trapped by the frequent heavy pressure of daily routine.

Breaking away from short-term requirements and expectations allows us to more clearly see the long-term goals and dreams of our lives. Imagine the perspective of a city dweller hustling down a busy sidewalk. He or she cannot see more than a few feet, but someone high up in a skyscraper could see where that person had been and where he or she is going. The further away from ground zero, the further one can see. If danger lurks around a corner, the person in the skyscraper can see it. And though the individual on the sidewalk may feel miles from his or her goal, the one viewing it from a broader perspective can see that success is only a short distance away.

All of us must take that time to escape ourselves in order to see ourselves. We must come apart from daily life or we may come apart completely. Like the batteries that power our technology, there are times when we “quick charge” in a day or two and times when we “trickle charge” for a longer period of time.

My wife, Betty, and I are refreshed while meditating outdoors, observing wildlife, and basking in glorious sunrises and sunsets. I often comment, “God just painted another masterpiece.” These special times alone and away from the everyday pressure always make me more sensitive to the needs and feelings of others.

Whatever each of us may require, we must break away to refresh and recharge or we will break down. Too many people meet the requirements of the day without reaching the potential for their lives. From the president of the United States to the most mundane job, times of reflection, meditation and forethought must be a part of our agenda if we are to maintain any significant perspective on life.


Author: James Robison

Word Count: 658

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, an international humanitarian aid ministry; host of the television program, Life Today; and author of The Absolutes.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at

Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.



Receive via e-mail

Publishing Rights

©  All rights reserved.
No part of this website or its contents may be published without written permission.
Publishers requesting permission for reprint should read the publishing rights.