I can't remember the drive home from the airport...all I can remember is how relieved, how incredibly thankful, I was to be back on my own bed, in a safe environment, with two parents who would help me get through all of this. It was the first peaceful night of sleep I'd had in a long long time.
I also don't remember much at all about the explanations I tried to give to my folks. But I do remember this: I apparently told my Dad enough such that he was compelled to drive over to see the congregation servant (as they were then called), who had himself been at Bethel...and demanded to know why he hadn't told my folks about what Bethel life was really like..why he had let them send their firstborn son into such an environment without any warning whatsoever. The servant answered:"That would have been disloyal of me."
But, as I teetered at the edge of the precipice, that one little rope of hope was still in my hands: 1975 was only 3 years away, and if I could just hang on that much longer...somehow find a way to bury all these bad experiences, all this pain, all this disappointment--then just a little while longer, and the former things will not be called to mind.
So, I decided to focus on the Bible itself--after all, that some few bad people at Bethel had done some few bad things didn't mean that the Bible was itself to blame, did it? To bring myself closer to the God of that Bible, I started studying Greek, Hebrew and Latin. For recreation, I'd study calculus and physics. For stress, I would drink. All this, of course, alone, in my room, until the wee hours of the morning. No more was said about Bethel.
Does anyone see a pattern of "hiding" here? Yes indeed, the same pattern that my folks had been following for the last 20 years--and I became a true disciple of that way.
I also met a sister, and we got married (my Dad married us, at the KH). I got a job at a warehouse, and started to get back on my feet as a publisher. There was even talk about how some day I would make a really good servant at the KH again, especially considering what I'd been through, and the experience I could offer.
Emotionally, things were starting to look up. I was seeing "the track" again, and pulling myself along slowing but surely to 1975.