As she began eating her salad, Mary said, “Betty, I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate the way you . . .” As Mary proceeded to articulate each of Betty’s positive contributions at work, her coworker sat speechless, tears filling her eyes. Finally, she told Mary that it had been a very long time since anyone had said anything kind to her.

Betty began to tell Mary how she had spent all her life caring for others. As a young girl, she cared for her sickly mother. Now she was caring for her husband, who was too ill to work. Betty continually felt overwhelmed and trapped. Though life had not been kind to Betty, when Mary spoke life and blessing to her, it had a profound influence.

One final example of the power we have to bless one another comes from the movie Hugo, which I recently enjoyed watching with my family. The story revolves around a young boy named Hugo who loves to fix ­things—­especially clocks.

Hugo’s mother has died; his father is a watchmaker who works in a museum fixing complicated devices. Hugo loves spending time with his father learning the trade. At the beginning of the movie, Hugo’s father is trying to repair an enormously complicated mechanical boy, an automaton that has been donated to the museum.

Tragically, Hugo’s father dies in a fire at the museum. Without any compassion, Hugo’s drunken uncle arrives at Hugo’s home to tell the boy that his father is dead. He then drags Hugo to the train station, where the uncle lives and works maintaining the clocks. Before leaving his home, the only thing Hugo grabs is the automaton, which he intends to repair someday. Meanwhile, Hugo learns his uncle’s trade of keeping the station’s clocks running.

Even after his uncle disappears, Hugo continues to live at the station and maintain the clocks. There he befriends a young girl who was adopted by her godparents. Together they try to solve the mystery of the automaton, which Hugo thinks carries a secret message for him from his father. Hugo believes this message will speak to his very purpose in life.

This brings me to what I consider the key point of the movie: a conversation between the two children about their life’s purpose. Hugo says, “If you lose your purpose, it’s like you’re broken.” He adds, “I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason too.”1

“If you lose your purpose, it’s like you’re broken.” Wow, what an insight! So many people feel broken because they do not know their true and authentic purpose in life. Film reviewer Drew McWeeny observed about Hugo, “Early on, it’s obvious that the film is less about the mechanical man and more about the way broken people sometimes need other people to fix them, how we can all play some part in the lives of others, sometimes without meaning to.”2 1.5

I am quite passionate about several concepts underscored by this movie:

1.  We are created with purpose.
2. When we have lost our purpose, it is as if we are broken, and we do not function the way our Creator designed us to function.
3.  Sometimes we need other people to help fix ­us—to help us find our true purpose—­an illustration of our interdependency.
4. We often play a part in the lives of others, sometimes without even being aware of it. The more we can live with a clear sense of purpose, the more impact and influence we will have on others.