Lately I’ve had this poem in my head, and I thought I should definitely share it. It was written by E. Margaret Clarkson, a woman who lived with debilitating pain through much of her life. I find it extremely encouraging during times of physical pain.
A Stryker Frame was a kind of hospital bed designed to keep a person completely immobile. It was also made where it could be rotated 360°. Clarkson was awaiting surgery while she was in such a frame, some time before 1975.
I tried to seek permission to publish this work, but as the author died in 2008, and I found it in an out-of-print book, I have no idea who owns the work.
Prayer From A Stryker Frame
Lord, I lie here,
Strapped down, motionless, almost insensible,
Skewered to this strange board
By the cruel, incredible pain;
Unable to move hand, foot, or head
Because of pain’s intensity
And the exigencies of the Stryker.
Pain racks my body through and through;
I lie on a bed of pointed, red-hot nails, Invisible forces pressing, pressing me down
Harder, harder into them…
I scarcely knew such pain could be.
Once You lay on a bed of coals,
Spiked to a stake by pain
Far beyond anything I experience now
Or can possibly imagine.
They lifted You up
Till the nails must have seared Your very soul,
Tearing Your body with the awful thud
Of a cross dumped roughly deep in a pit,
And You impaled upon it.
I lie here of my own necessity,
Hoping to be made well in time
By mystery of surgery;
Willing to be purified by pain
For my own advantage.
You hung there
Out of pure love,
Willing to be crucified, to die
For my sake;
Hoping to gain nothing for Yourself
But Heaven for me. Your anguished cry, “Forsaken!”
Wrung from parched, sinless lips,
Goes echoing down the ages; finds me here
And meets my need.
No “Why?” torments my fevered brain today
For I am not alone:
You answered all the questions
Of tortured human hearts
Once and for all. Your risen life
Within, around, above, beneath,
In my pain,
And in Your peace I rest. They turn me over now. Circulation
And other physical requirements dictate
This painful thrust
Three times each day.
Here I lie, prostrate,
Face to the dust,
Humble before Your feet.
Face to the dust, I worship You, my Lord,
In this strange, love-lit sanctuary,
Bowed by compulsion, true,
But also by new love,
Freshly born of pain,
Adoring You in wonder and in awe
Who for my sake
Hung on Your cross.
For those who want to learn more about Christianity or wish to speak to a live counselor, I recommend peacewithgod.net