The Details: Ashley Rudd

It’s often in the details that we notice the little things. Every once in a while we allow ourselves to dwell on them, but most often we rush pass them on the way to something that seems bigger. Our days pass, and the little moments that should take our breath away pass like clouds in the sky. Few conversations in our busy lives allow for the details. We find ourselves saying things like, “oh, it’s a really long story,” or we’re simply too busy to sit down and catch the details of another person’s life.

But then we meet someone who cherishes those moments, those details, and our mind-set has a chance to change.

I met Ashley Rudd two years ago. I’d like to think that I would have gotten to know her even if she wasn’t the PA on my floor, but as an unsure freshman, I guess I thought I needed an excuse to talk to someone new. Anyone who spends time with Ashley knows what friendship looks like. That person walks away cared for and loved because Ashley cares about the little things.

“I’m passionate about talking to people and getting to know them deeper,” she told me once.

It’s not world hunger. It’s not poverty. And that’s OK because she’s passionate about connection, about knowing and helping those whose passions lead them to far off places. Her favorite moments in a day are the little interactions with people, the ones that go to a deeper level, the ones that grow an acquaintance into a dear friend.

She also loves waking up.

She might be the only college student who would say something like that. But when the day is brand new, everything is fresh. It’s a chance for her to refocus, to think about the day ahead and to face it with a new attitude. She walks throughout the day with this on the forefront of her mind. That’s not to say that she’s a perfect human being, that she’s got life all figured out.

She just has a different perspective than most. While many people skip the details, she dives into them. I once asked her what she would do on a Saturday if she had no obligations. She described it all. She told me what she would do in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening. In case you wondered, it included traveling to Italy and somehow making it back to the US in time for sunset walk.

She amazes me.

Because she doesn’t have it all together. She doesn’t have life figured out, and she feels that the most misunderstood part of her goes back to this.

“Most people see me as happy or really friendly all the time, but in reality, I’m self-critical and over analyzing everything. Most people think I have it all together, but they don’t see all the crap going on,” she said.

I live with sixty girls who could probably resonate with that statement. Yet, in the midst of it, Ashley lives courageously. She dives deep with others. She’s trying to figure out how to live vulnerably with those closest to her, how to invite them into the mess that is her life.

And that’s what I love about her.

She doesn’t pretend to have everything together. She doesn’t act like her life is perfect. She’s great at inviting people into the parts of her life that need a little cleaning up, and she’s great at being with me in the middle of my messes.

So here’s to Ashley, the girl of details. The one who is afraid of making the wrong decision, yet constantly makes the most courageous ones. The one who loves to communicate with others, loves to dive deep with them. The one with beautiful messes.

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