I’m related to some crazy people. Not certifiable, of course —- but a bit off nonetheless. It’s sort of like Cousin Eddie from National Lampoon crazy. I’m not going to name names —- but you know of whom I speak.
I really think it’s more regional than genetic. Folks down in Dixie seem to have their fair share of loopy aunts, uncles and second cousins. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Here in the South, we love our crazy relatives. We’ll put them out on the front porch and haul them out for parties. We embrace the bizarre — like my cousin Earl the Elvis impersonator. (That’s a story for another day).
Frankly, everybody in the nation has some loony relations. My Uncle Jerry from Coldwater, Miss., says if you don’t think you have crazy folks in your family —- then by default —- you are the crazy one.
Family is family, though. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got an in-law with 12 toes, or an aunt who hits the sauce. And I love my family more than anything else on this planet. Family puts up with you when no one else will. Of course, they’re kind of bound by law —- but it’s still the thought that counts.
But you know something? Family can be a lot more than just your blood relations. I’ve discovered that along this journey I’ve traveled. Along the way, I’ve met some of the dearest folks in the world. People who walked alongside of me, who stood by my side and who prayed for me.
I’ve searched for the words to express my profound gratitude — but the dictionary seems to be void of words worthy to describe their loving kindnesses.
Awhile back, I had the chance to meet former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. The governor and I share similar backgrounds. We are both sons of the South, we are both Southern Baptists and we both were extremely overweight. Let’s just say we never met a fried chicken we didn’t eat. And like me, he overcame his weight problem by losing 110 pounds and last year he ran the New York City Marathon.
Governor Huckabee gave me some good advice about running the marathon. He told me that it’s going to be one of the hardest things I will ever do in my life. He suggested I dedicate each mile to a person who has made an impact in my life —- someone who offered a helping hand along my journey.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working on my list and on Sunday as I work my way through five boroughs, I’ll be running for 26 people. I’ve decided to keep my list a secret —- except for one.
Hundreds of you have written to me and many more have read my writings over the past two weeks. The words of encouragement, the advice, and the prayers have meant so much to me. So I’ve decided to run Mile 26 for all of you guys. Thank you for being a part of my journey.
Of course, that still leaves 0.2 miles — and you know something? I’ve decided to run the final 0.2 miles just for me!
I was in Central Park last week. I enjoy having my quiet time there — usually in the morning. I was reading one of the Apostle Paul’s writing. He wrote about running a good race. It wasn’t about finishing first. It wasn’t about setting some sort of record. Instead, the Bible suggested it was more important how you run the race.
It’s been a long two years and my journey has taken me over some interesting territory. And now, it all comes down to this one single moment. As I prepare for Sunday’s race, my only hope, my deepest desire is to run a good race.
Todd Starnes is a network news anchor for Fox News Radio. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Coming Sunday, Todd runs the marathon.
Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. His latest book is "God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values." Follow Todd on Twitter @ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.