The Lord gave me my face but I can pick my own nose

This is the title of a painting by Andy Warhol, one of the world’s most well known Pittsburghers, born here in 1928, part of a Byzantine Catholic Christian family from what is now Slovakia.

Today we came to the end of our conference and so we had a free afternoon in Downtown Pittsburgh to buy souvenirs, walk along the river, experience the night market, see some of the iconic buildings and have dinner out.  As well as seeing the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Pittsburgh Steelers, we also found our way to the Andy Warhol Museum.

A troubled soul in many ways (much like the rest of us!), I found myself fascinated by Warhol’s own fascination with other people.  In his case it tended to be the rich and famous, the glamorous movie stars and beautiful people but when he came to film some of them, all he wanted was for them to talk about normal things and to be themselves, like the famous cans of soup!

This week’s conference about God in the Neighbourhood has included discussions about the importance of creating space in our communities for people to be fully human but that this can only happen when we begin to pay closer attention to what our neighbours are saying about what is important to them in their everyday lives. The different bright colours Warhol uses to highlight his series of soup cans among other things brings the ordinary to life so that we cannot but notice them.

There is so much we continue to miss, even when it’s right in front of us, as obvious as the nose on your face.  Again, I come back to the importance of slowing down.  The best bit of the whole museum for me was the room filled with floating silver pillows!

I stood among the balloons as they slowly wafted around me, sometimes touching, sometimes catching on the ceiling and walls, bumping randomly against one another.  Their movement was mesmerising.  It made me wonder if we could all do with filling our workplaces with giant silver balloons to get us to slow down a bit and notice what is right under our nose.

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Author: walk4andy

I am a (just!) 40 year old vicar in Leicester. My brother Andy Lees died in 2013 aged 38 just three months after my father. They both suffered from Von Hippel Lindau syndrome, a genetic form of cancer. This May I am walking Hadrian's Wall to raise money for VHL UK/Ireland.

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