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    LONELINESS

    "They are ungoverned yet unfree," said Walter Lippmann of such morally bereft and helpless souls. One of the most influential and statesmanlike American journalists of this century, acute observer of the domestic scene, Lippmann continued, "They are creatures of the passing moment who are vaguely unhappy in a boring and senseless existence...The sap of life does not reach them, their tap roots having been cut."

    Charles Colson, Against the Night, p. 58.


    Clayton Longtree was lonely in Moscow. The weather was dreary, the Marine barracks were dirty, old, and cold, and he didn't get much mail. Though guard duty at the U.S. embassy was a trusted position of honor, his work was often dull and exhausting; it was a ceremonial job with little action. In letters home he doodled U.S. planes dropping bombs on Red Square; he tried writing to an old girlfriend, only to learn she had married someone else.

    It was when Clayton met Violetta in the fall of 1985 that life in Moscow began to brighten. Tall, fair-skinned, and beautiful, she was a translator at the embassy. Though Clayton had been warned about fraternizing with Soviets, he had seen enough friends and superiors date Russian women to feel comfortable doing the same. He and Violetta took long walks in the park, had tea, and even managed to be alone a few times in her apartment.

    Violetta introduced Clayton to her "Uncle Sasha," who peppered him with questions about his life in the United States, his political views, life in Moscow, and life in the embassy. Clayton enjoyed the older man's interest. Then one day Sasha pulled a prepared list of detailed questions from his pocket -- and Clayton finally realized that Violetta's "Uncle" worked for the KGB.

    But Clayton kept meeting with Violetta, and with Sasha. He began making excuses to his superiors, using elaborate techniques to make sure he wasn't being followed when he met with his Russian friends. Life became more interesting -- more like the spy novels Clayton loved to read.

    After he had been seeing Violetta for six months, Clayton's Moscow tour came to a close. He asked to be reassigned to guard duty at the U.S. embassy in Vienna... Clayton Lonetree was lonely in Vienna. But soon Uncle Sasha arrived, bearing photographs and a letter from Violetta. As he watched the young Marine excitedly rip open the package, Sasha knew Clayton was ready for something more than talk. The first item Clayton delivered to the KGB agent was an old embassy phone book. Next came a map of the embassy interior, for which Clayton received $1,800. He used $1,000 of it to buy Violetta a handmade Viennese gown. Then came three photographs of embassy employees thought to be CIA agents, and another $1,800 payment.

    Sasha proposed an undercover trip back to Moscow, where Clayton could at last visit Violetta -- and receive KGB training. Clayton arranged for vacation leave from the embassy. But now he began to get nervous. He started to drink more; he lay awake nights trying to think of a way out of the KGB web. He hadn't realized that when he traded the trust of his nation for sex and cash, he traded his soul as well.

    So in December 1986, Clayton tried to trade it back. At a Christmas party he approached the Vienna CIA chief, a man whose real identity he would not have known except that Uncle Sasha had pointed him out earlier. "I'm in something over my head," he said.

    The confession begun that evening ended in August, 1987 when Clayton Lonetree was found guilty on all charges of espionage. Today he sits in a military prison cell, a thirty- year sentence stretching before him. 

    Charles Colson, Against the Night, pp. 59-61.


    Armand M. Nicholi, M.D., professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, explains that Sigmund Freud died at the age of 83, a bitter and disillusioned man. Tragically, this Viennese physician, one of the most influential thinkers of our time, had little compassion for the common person. Freud wrote in 1918,

    "I have found little that is good about human beings on the whole. In my experience most of them are trash, no matter whether they publicly subscribe to this or that ethical doctrine or to none at all" (Veritas Reconsidered, p. 36). Freud died friendless. It is well-known that he had broken with each of his followers. The end was bitter. 

    Discoveries, Summer, 1991, Vol. 2, No. 3, p. 1.


    A "Ziggy" cartoon recently pictured the small, pudgy man, sitting alone in a boat, drifting toward a tunnel with the sign above, "Tunnel of Meaningful Relationships." Loneliness is a growing problem in our society. A study by the American Council of Life Insurance reported that the most lonely group in America are college students. That's surprising! Next on the list are divorced people, welfare recipients, single mothers, rural students, housewives, and the elderly. 

    To point out how lonely people can be, Chrales Swindoll mentioned an ad in a Kansas newspaper. It read, "I will listen to you talk for 30 minutes without comment for $5.00." Swindoll said, "Sounds like a hoax, doesn't it? But the person was serious. Did anybody call? You bet. It wasn't long before this individual was receiving 10 to 20 calls a day. The pain of loneliness was so sharp that some were willing to try anything for a half hour of companionship"

    Source Unknown.


    About halfway through (a PBS program on the Library of Congress), Dr. Daniel Boorstin, the Librarian of Congress, brought out a little blue box from a small closet that once held the library's rarities. The label on the box read: Contents of the President's Pockets on the Night of April 14, 1865.  Since that was the fateful night Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, every viewer's attention was seized. Boorstin then proceeded to remove the items in the small container and display them on camera. There were five things in the box:

    *A handkerchief, embroidered "A. Lincoln"

    *A country boy's pen knife

    *A spectacles case repaired with string

    *A purse containing a $5 bill--Confederate money(!)

    *Some old and worn newspaper clippings

    "The clippings," said Boorstin, "were concerned with the great deeds of Abraham Lincoln. And one of them actually reports a speech by John Bright which says that Abraham Lincoln is "one of the greatest men of all times." Today that's common knowledge. The world now knows that British statesman John Bright was right in his assessment of Lincoln, but in 1865 millions shared quite a contrary opinion. The President's critics were fierce and many. His was a lonely agony that reflected the suffering and turmoil of his country ripped to shreds by hatred and a cruel, costly war. There is something touchingly pathetic in the mental picture of this great leader seeking solace and self-assurance from a few old newspaper clippings as he reads them under the flickering flame of a candle all alone in the Oval Office.

    Remember this: Loneliness stalks where the buck stops. 

    Swindoll, The Quest For Character, Multnomah, p. 62-3.