Scratches as Memories

Admit it. You’re annoyed when you see a crack on your gadgets. If you deny it, try to create one on your iPhone.

As the result, we resolve to all kinds of protection for our gadgets. We buy cases decorated with colorful pattern, funny cartoon, and creative design. We apply screen protector, anti-glare, anti-scratch, and anti-fingerprint. Protective cases are great addition to create variety in the uniformity of our gadgets. But protection shouldn’t sacrifice the beauty of original design.

Try to pull out the devices in your possession — I assume you have iPhone or iPad in your hands. Remove the protective bulky case that hides the line, shape, and color of the original design. Feel the texture of the material, the reduced size and weight, and the clarity of the screen. What you see is the thousand of decisions designers have made to craft this perfectly tuned device.

Like the rest of you, I also want to protect this device from the cracks and scratches. It’s risky to use iPhone without protective case. But life is also full of risks.

Few months ago I accidentally dropped my iPad mini on the floor. I hurriedly picked up the iPad mini, rushed off to turn on the light, and check if the screen is broken. It’s not broken, but one of the corner becomes dented. In the midst of the incident, I’ve forgotten the truth of existence.

Impermanence.

I’ve learned about impermanence, also known as anicca in Pali, since elementary school. It means that all conditioned existence is in a constant state of change. There is no eternal beauty, there is no eternal happiness. You can stay on top now, but eventually, the change will happen. This iPad mini will break one day. The scratches are unavoidable. But did the scratches make this iPad mini useless?

It’s still a perfect iPad mini — with some scratches.

Our bestowed body is full of scratches. As we grow up, more scratches are created. They’re not ugly. In fact, they’re beautiful. A burnt mark gained from protecting your loved one is not ugly. They’re the symbol of how much love you’re willing to give for them.

They’re the reminder of our memories. The scratches are the collective memories of the time you’ve spent with it. The scratches your beautiful daughter has made on the iPad, the dents your curious son has created on your iPhone, and the cracks your partner has brought are part of the memories.

No. There is nothing wrong with scratches. There is discontent in expecting perfection.