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No Surrender: Faith, Family, and Finding Your Way


No Surrender: Faith, Family, and Finding Your Way

If there was anyone who was expected to give up on life, it would have been Patrick Bisher. He was born with a crippling bone disease that found him spending his days in leg braces, crutches and a full body cast. This all took place during his elementary school years and followed him well into middle school and high school. He felt that nothing would ever come easy for him again.

Patrick did not give up, though. He chose to use every fiber of his being to reclaim his life and make it better than the unfortunate bad card he had drawn from the deck of life-altering circumstances. In his own words, Patrick avers: “My life is a living testimony that through the most extreme adversity, great things can happen and something of a brotherhood can be found…” Heavy stuff from a determined man.

Rather than give in to his situation, Patrick embraced it. He learned the hard way that pain lets you know you are alive. He also recognized that being normal was abnormal, and this mindset put him in a place of comfort, a personal mantra that allowed him to accept what his body was doing to him, figure out how to overcome it and emerge a winner.

"NO SURRENDER is a great read and is highly recommended for anyone who thinks they are unable to overcome the worst that life has thrown at them. Patrick Bisher is a living example that anyone can stand up, fight their private battles and never surrender."

Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted at the opening of NO SURRENDER: “A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.” This account of Patrick's life begins during his youth in Lansing, Michigan, and takes us through to the present day. At the end of each chapter, there is a sub-section entitled “What You Can Learn From This,” followed by numbered examples relating to each corresponding chapter. It is easy to see Patrick’s mental strength when Chapter One presents us with the fact that life is not fair, but the way we deal with life is by changing our attitude towards it.

As Patrick searched for anything or anyone from which he could draw strength and knowledge, he mentions comparisons of his own physical restrictions to those of Charles Dickens' Tiny Tim from A CHRISTMAS CAROL. He also recalls finding solace in the words of late basketball coach Jim Valvano, who valiantly fought and lost his battle with cancer --- but speaks to the fact that he never gave in to it. Patrick pushed himself well beyond his physical limitations, often doing things his friends couldn't accomplish. He even made his school’s basketball team and fought extra hard to get playing time. The difference between him and his teammates is that, while they aspired to be professional ballplayers, Patrick found himself dreaming of being GI Joe or a ninja.

Life continued to present Patrick with more hardship as a young man. A particularly difficult blow was the tragic death of Layton DeVries, his choir teacher and mentor. Again, rather than give in, he chose to use these negative experiences to fortify himself. Upon graduation, Patrick's father wanted him to go into his business, which was working for network marketing giant Amway. Patrick started out doing this, but soon found another calling and had to choose between continuing with Amway or joining the Navy. The prospect of becoming a Navy SEAL, a complete impossibility based on his childhood maladies, was too strong a prospect to turn down.

Patrick did not know what to expect from life as a Navy SEAL, but recognized that fear of the unknown causes people to fail before they even try. He again pushed himself well beyond his physical limits to achieve this goal. However, it came at a price. He injured his shoulder so badly that his arm was hanging on by only a few damaged tendons. Additionally, his childhood illness reared its ugly head once again, and doctors recommended that he get his hip replaced. One physician was so awed by Patrick's story and his ability to eventually become a Navy SEAL that he said it inspired him to be a better doctor.

Another setback with his body betraying him still did not damage his mental fortitude. He was no mere Marine jarhead --- he was and always will be a Navy SEAL, and will be forever proud of this fact. Life after the military found Patrick finding the woman of his dreams, his wife Nikki. She sticks with him through the hellish pain from which he suffers daily, a tribute to her love for and faith in him. The main thing that pulls Patrick out of his physical misery time and again is his faith in God, and he uses this to decipher that there are never coincidences, just God's hand at play in his life.

This is no mere self-help or spiritual growth book. The very able hand of co-author Jon Land is fully evident throughout. As a bestselling author of thrillers, Land assists Patrick in telling his story and laying it out in such a way that it reads like a page-turner of an action novel rather than a work of nonfiction. NO SURRENDER is a great read and is highly recommended for anyone who thinks they are unable to overcome the worst that life has thrown at them. Patrick Bisher is a living example that anyone can stand up, fight their private battles and never surrender.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on July 28, 2017

No Surrender: Faith, Family, and Finding Your Way
by Patrick Bisher with Jon Land