handwritten music with flowers

how peace i leave got its name

The ideas for peace i leave trickled in – or rather, poured in – one after another in December 2017/January 2018. Although I had more ideas than I knew what to do with, and scribbled them in a project notebook as quickly as I could (most ideas appear while I’m in the shower, meaning some of them get lost by the time I get to my notebook), I was struggling to find a name.

As usual, it appeared once I had turned my attention to something else.

Recently I had been asked if I would want to direct a local children’s choir. It was tempting indeed, in fact something I’ve wanted to do since I was a little girl, but the timing didn’t seem right. I work, have two small children, and I had an exciting idea for a project I really wanted to start. Directing a choir didn’t just mean showing up for rehearsals, but also finding repertoire and writing my own arrangements. It reminded me of when I was 18 and playing in a band for church with Matthew, a group we had called New Life.

It may have been my thoughts surrounding the choir, or my thoughts of Matthew, or perhaps just a wonderfully orchestrated coincidence, but the melody for a song I had arranged for that band was stuck in my head. Peace I Leave.

I’m not sure when it hit me (but again, I’m assuming it was in the shower), but the lyrics to that song were pointing to everything I wanted to do with this project. I wanted to bring peace. I wanted to be peace. And I wanted to bring the message that I think our loved ones who have passed would want us to hear:

You are surrounded by more love than you could ever know or comprehend. Dying is not the end. Dying is not the tragedy. Do not stay in pain. I leave you peace.

Not only was “peace i leave” the perfect way to have Matthew posthumously involved in this project, it was also a summary of everything it was supposed to do.

For the sake of thoroughness (and because the song was quoting scripture and I was a bit worried that the rest of that passage would be something like “peace I leave to you, now go and kill your enemies with swords and daggers,” or some other biblically acceptable violence), I checked on the rest of the verse. It was:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27

That was all I needed to hear. Whether or not you would like to read that in the context of Christianity, I find it beautiful and comforting. It is indeed what this project is all about.

And finally, the name peace i leave is also a bit of a mission statement. Not only to be the voice of the passed, but also to offer comfort to the grieving. If the art and words here can bring people together and be of comfort, it has fulfilled its purpose. It is my hope and intention for this space.

“Death is not the opposite of life. Life has no opposite. The opposite of death is birth. Life is eternal.”

-Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks


  • Catherine M. Graham

    Oh, I just LOVE the name and all that it represents!! Thank you for sharing your journey and your vision with us! XO

  • Stephanie

    Libby you are an amazing woman with a heart ago. I used to listen to our New Life version of peace I leave throughout college and into my first year of teaching. I’m excited to see where life’s journey continues to take you. I think of that group and the many happy memories I have from it often. I also think of the wonderful joy Matthew brought many of us. Libby- peace be with you always!!! Love ya!!

    • Libby

      Thank you so much, dear Stephanie!! I really hope one day you would be willing to share here, too. Thinking of you and holding you close!!

  • Mary meehl

    Abby,that was a beautiful read! Thanks for sharing. Always good to hear about those days of “New Life” and those good memories you kids had. Of course remembering Matt is always a bonus.

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