In this song a younger man journeys to ask an old man three questions: 1) What do you do with the pieces of a broken heart? 2) How can a man like me remain in the light? 3) If life is really as short as they say, then why is the night so long? This is reminiscent of the Leo Tolstoy morality story The Three Questions, in which an emperor decides that if he knows the answers to three questions, he will never stray in any matter. While the younger man seems to be focused on personal issues, the emperor is more concerned with the right way to act: 1) What is the best time to do each thing? 2) Who are the most important people to work with? 3) What is the most important thing to do at all times? In the Tolstoy story, the emperor "finds the answers" when he unknowingly helps a person who is trying to hurt him. In this song, the old man simply tells the younger man he is a "young fool who is afraid to do the things he has to do."
In an April 2007 interview, M. Ward describes songwriting as a form of art: "I'm really open to interpretations for anything involved with art, and I think that leaving room for people to use their intuition is doing a favor for the audience and the artwork. I'm much more interested in having a song that can have 100 meanings to 100 different people than having a song that can only be interpreted in one way." (quote taken from The Hartford Courant, Traveling Through Time, April 2007.)