Monday, September 15, 2008

The Cell Phone Purge

My daughter decided to call a very dear friend still in our CLB today. (it actually went very well - thanks)

The only problem was that we no longer had her phone number.

See, we had gone through what I am sure is a oft repeated procedure after leaving a painful church situation. The procedure????
The Cell Phone Purge

The “Purge” is simply the act that you take when you finally go through and delete almost all the names from your caller list. You do this for several reasons.

You Purge it because it is so depressing:

The biggest reason to purge is that you decide that you are tired of having your phone full of people who would rather not talk to you. Each time you scroll through the names to get to the two people that you still call, you end up so depressed that you don’t’ even call that one friend that you picked up the phone for. Cell phones are not happy cell phones when filled to overflowing with tears. Or toilet water.

You Purge it because the phone becomes abusive:

It is the cell phone that screams out to you, “YOU HAVE NO FRIENDS LEFT!” “JUST LOOK AT THE PEOPLE WHO DON’T WANT YOU TO CALL THEM!“ Cell phones can be very abusive when they are filled with X-friends. I don’t blame the phone itself as it is probably wondering why it exists except for your circle of 5 that now contain only your Best Friend, your husband and your kids. Thank God for the Best Friend!

You Purge it because it is no longer a Ministry Expense:

Now it is the cell phone that you can’t any longer deduct from your taxes as a ministry expense. Now it is just an expense. (No......we never did this - some pastors would though I expect.)

You Purge it because you don’t want to push the wrong button:

Say, you have the pastor and his wife with the last name that is spelled so that it falls next to one of your daughters and you don’t’ want to dial it by mistake. (How awkward would that conversation be? “Um, Hi _________, So….I heard…….bumped into….um…my daughter….the…other day. How was that for you? Soooooo….Ok, bye then.”)

You purge it so that you can make room for all the new friends that you will soon have:

Riiiiigggghhhhhhttttttt. Keep dreaming.

So you go through the purge. Followed closely by a really good cry. Just put the phone down first.

But take heart, one day you may get to add a name back in. Keep a record. You just might need those phone numbers.
It was really fun. The Cell Phone seemed happy too.


Tracy Simmons said...

Thankfully when I left the IC 11 years ago, I did not have a cell phone (I don't remember ANYONE having a cell phone back then!). Your post made me grateful for yet another thing that I was spared from back then :).

Jeannette Altes said...

Oddly, I haven't ourged my cell phone yet. With all the craziness that was happening, I wanted to know if they were calling me before I answered - screen my calls. So far, it hasn't been necessary... ;P

Barb said...

Tracy, yeah, but I would have wanted a cell phone back then to keep up with my teens. So I guess it has been a good trade off. Glad you were spared my little ritual though!

Katherine, I had no fear that they would be calling me....your's must not have been shunning as mine were.

Vicki said...

Wow, can I ever sympathize with you in this experience! Sometimes I would drag out my phone book to look up numbers rather than have to scroll through the memories. Many times I started to delete numbers, but I kept thinking, "What if someone realizes that it is okay to talk to me? I want to know who it is that's calling." But, of course, all of my friends proved their the CLB, so I started removing numbers a few at a time. With pain that must feel something similar to cutting off a limb, I finally removed my best friend's number from speed dial.

Barb said...

vicki, I'm so sorry. At least I got to keep my Best Friend. I can't imagine walking through this without her support. I have heard of wives and husbands split apart because of this too. Now that would be the worst.

Jeannette Altes said...

Oh, mine were shunning. But because of legal action that I was a witness in, I was prepared for them to call (or some of their inner circle) with threats or just angry... wanted to know who was calling before I answered.

Brother Frankie said...

not only did i purge the numbers, i changed mine as well..(dont know why, no one called me to see where i was anyway)

John Fincher said...

With us, at least, MOST people still talk to us. It is only the pastor, his wife, and their immediate family (I know it's hard to believe that this reality could be so) that evidently love conditionally. Also rather frosty now is the Assoc. who USED to be one of my closest friends.

Oh well, what are you gonna do?

Barb said...

John, Our 'church' had a very strong loyalty thing going on. If you left, it is understood that everyone else thinks you are decieved and dangerous. People who had lived in my house for a year or two before marriage that we had known for years and years are not having any relationship with us. But even the few that you have are equally as wounding I'm sure.

John Fincher said...

Don't get me wrong, we did too (the loyalty thing, that is), but I didn't go slowly into that good night. The pastor told me we could say goodbye, and then when the time came, a "righteous" anger at some perceived infraction prevented him from letting us.

So, I just called everybody that I felt led to and explained why we were leaving and asked them, point blank, if they would still love us. For the most part, they have.

Barb said...

We left quietly - too quietly. I would not give that advice to anyone now. There is a time frame where you can say things to people and if you don't take it - you never get it back. I think those that have spoken to people actually have gone out in a more healthy way that those who said nothing. This is still debateable and would be a great question to ask people over the years to see if there is actually a pattern to it. It was percieved as more 'godly' to leave quietly. This is also the line that the cult perpetuates before you ever think of leaving. So it is really hard to break away and talk to people.

John Fincher said...

I had seen too many people just leave and didn't want to go thay way myself. I never understood why one should feel some type of shame about it. I was the one who usually called THEM to say goodbye and tell them that I still loved them (well, sometimes anyway)

Isn't it sad, though that it happens the quiet way more often than not?

Anonymous said...

I know it's bad form to comment on such an old blog post, but wanted to add another reason for purging the cell phone numbers: So that when you've self medicated your grief until "last call" time, you are not as likely to send drunken text messages to CLB people....

Barb said...

Not bad form at all. I hope to get new comments as people start to walk through this themselves from an abusive church situation or from KeyChurch or Antioch International (or Church of the Harvest)
And yes, another good reason to purge. Just gives them fuel for their fires of how terrible you are doing since you ran away from their goodness. Never stopping to think that how bad you are doing is directly tied to their abuse.