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  Artist List   /   Brooke Fraser   /   What To Do With Daylight





01. Arithmetic

What To Do With Daylight
by Brooke Fraser



 

I've been staring at the sky tonight
Marveling and passing time
Wondering what to do with daylight
Until I can make you mine
You are the one I want, you are the one I want

I've been thinking of changing my mind
(It never stays the same for long)
But of all the things I know for sure
You're the only certain one
You are the one I want, you are the one I want

I've been counting up all my wrongs
One sorry for each star
See I'd apologize my way to you
If the heavens stretched that far
You are the one I want, you are the one I want

I won't find what I am looking for
If I only 'see' by keeping score
'Cos I know now you are so much more than arithmetic

'Cos if I add, if I subtract
If I give it all, try to take some back
I've forgotten the freedom that comes from the fact
That you are the sum
So you are the one
I want

When the years are showing on my face
And my strongest days are gone
When my heart and flesh depart this place
From a life that sung your song

You'll still be the one I want
You'll still be the one I want
You'll still be the one I want
You'll still be the one I want



Behind the Song:
By Miss Brooke Fraser

I've been thinking for a while that I'd like to every so often dissect one of my songs for you. It's always really interesting listening to different interpretations of songs, so I in no way intend to halt the discussion, but I thought ya might appreciate a bit of B-Fray (as Kristin calls me) insight...

So, since y'all started a topic discussing that exact thing, I thought I may as well take the opportunity to add my 10c. Remember I'm not yet the forum-savvy poster I hope to be, so sorry if the layout of my post isn't totally reader-friendly.

Arithmetic was a song I am confident did not come from me. I literally wrote pages and pages of lyrics to this song, until all the right words came together and felt right. So... here we go:

Arithmetic
I've been staring at the sky tonight
Marvelling and passing time
Wondering what to do with daylight
Until I can make you mine
You are the one I want, you are the one I want

VERSE ONE: The line 'What to do with daylight' actually came to me months before Arithmetic was written or the album was recorded, as I was sitting in a park trying to think of a name for another song. That phrase popped into my head and I wrote it down. As I repeated it, I realised it felt like exactly the right title for the body of work I was about to record. So it was actually the name of the album before it was ever a line in 'Arithmetic'. This first verse is pretty much establishing the mood and setting of the song. Someone thinking about something they yearn for so deeply... when I read these words I think of someone with a consuming longing for peace, but not understanding how they can possibly obtain it.

I've been thinking of changing my mind
It never stays the same for long
But of all the things I know for sure
You're the only certain one
You are the one I want, you are the one I want

VERSE TWO: The first couple of lines are a play on words. 'I've been thinking of changing my mind, it never stays the same for long'... the second line can be taken as a confirmation of the first line's statement AND can mean the person wants to swap their mind for a more consistent one, because their current mind doesn't 'stay the same for long'. The last part of this verse then changes theme from what is transient and undependable (our minds/emotions) to what is unchanging. When these lyrics came through, my interpretation was that there are lots of things I think I know for sure - but when it comes down to it, God is the only thing that 'does not change like shifting shadows' (James 1:17).
So, at this stage in the song, I feel like the person has moved from acknowledging they're wanting peace to batting about the idea of God and His reality... not quite understanding yet, but deciding to pursue this peace that's callin'.

I've been counting up all my wrongs
One sorry for each star
See I'd apologise my way to you
If the heavens stretched that far
You are the one I want, you are the one I want

VERSE THREE: In this verse, the person considers the barriers between themself and God and thinks about how if each star in the sky represented an apology they needed to make for an error, there wouldn't be enough stars to say sorry for all the mistakes they've made. 'I've messed up too much,' 'I'm too far down this track to go to God now', 'I can never make up for all the stuff I've done wrong'.

The truth is, we can't make up for the stuff we've done wrong... but we don't have to, and as long as we're breathing, it's never too late. The good news comes in the chorus-kinda-part:

I won't find what I am looking for
If I only 'see' by keeping score
'Cos I know now you are so much more than arithmetic

'Cos if I add, if I subtract
If I give it all, try to take some back
I've forgotten the freedom that comes from the fact
That you are the sum
So you are the one
I want

CHORUS: This is the REVELATION part!!! Woohoo! This is where the person GETS that they won't find what they are looking for (peace) if they're trying to earn it or apologise their way to it. People - the point of this song is GRACE. Grace literally means 'unmerited or undeserved favour'. We can't earn our way to peace. Peace Himself earned the way for us. Check this out. One of the reasons I know this song did not come from Brooke (I know, referring to yourself in the third person is SO 1998) is because Romans 9:26/27ish in The Message translation says this:

'If each grain of sand on the seashore were numbered and the sum labeled 'chosen of God',
They'd be numbers still, not names;
salvation comes by personal selection.
God doesn't count us; he calls us by name.
Arithmetic is not his focus.'

I found this AFTER the song had been written. I also read Psalm 136 after Mystery had been written.

When the years are showing on my face
And my strongest days are gone
When my heart and flesh depart this place
From a life that sung your song

You'll still be the one I want
You'll still be the one I want
You'll still be the one I want
You'll still be the one I want

FINAL VERSE: This part is looking ahead to the end of the person's life. When we understand grace, we 'find what we are looking for' and our lives and eternities are never the same. This last verse is also the most personal for me. When I sing it, when I read it, when I speak it... I mean it so much I feel like I'm going to blow right out of my body!

2 Corinthians 12:9 - 'my grace is sufficient for you'. 'Arithmetic' is a song about grace - what Philip Yancey describes as 'the last best word'.
Life can be crap. Circumstances, people, feelings, culture are not dependable. But 'the one I want', is. We cannot pay our way - the way has been paid.

It's this message that will be my 'song' til way past when I'm saggy, wrinkly, and my jowls are chafing my collarbone. In fact, long after my bones are dust and the name 'Brooke Fraser' is long forgotten... I'll still be singin' it.

Phew, lucky I didn't get too heavy in this post (NOT!!).

Happy grace-finding,

Brooke xx

 

 

 

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