Once again this year the Sisters of Saint Joseph hold their annual Spirit of Courage awards ceremony, this time at the Bayfront Convention Center.
Each year the Sisters sift through nominations to find four or five people who have persevered through often serious injury, illness or personal conflict, all the while having the courage to remain positive and be an inspiration to others.
These are powerful stories; a mother who almost died in a jail cell due to addiction who now counsels others; a dancer who lost her feet to illness but is vowing to dance again.
I have been honored to be Master of Ceremonies for a number of years and have gone to most of the 16 ceremonies the Sisters have hosted.
Because we also do news stories on all the winners, the staff and I are given unusual insight into what makes these people continue on in the face of circumstances that clearly would destroy others.
The truth is, about the only thing the award winners have in common is that none of them consider themselves award winners.
They are regular people who simply believe they can deal with the hand that they are dealt; that even bad days have good moments.
There are past award winners who are no longer with us, ultimately losing the battle with illness that they were waging.
But you know what?
The lasting memory of each of them comes not from the way in which they died, but rather in the way in which they lived.
The real power of these Spirit of Courage stories is their ability to force introspection; listeners inevitably are drawn to make parallels to their own lives.
Is that slight from work really worth ruining your day over?
Is that argument at home really worth damaging your most important relationships?
I can't help feel just a little sheepish to see so plainly someone facing far more serious challenges yet still managing to enjoy life more.
It's a yearly wake-up call to look yourself in the mirror, shake your head and say, "Stop complaining. Life's not that bad."