Woman's rock garden was divinely inspired

By Sean Barron

Special to The Vindicator


It’s easy to be attracted to the rock garden in Mary Bembry’s dining room because of the colors, the shapes and sizes, and the careful arrangement.

But to Bembry, the most endearing aspect is what’s not visible.

“The Lord just gave it to me bit by bit,” Bembry said about her creation, which she named “The Lord’s Rock Garden.”

“When the Lord gives you something, there is such joy in you; you feel connected with Jesus,” she continued.

Bembry spoke recently from her Westchester Drive apartment about what she contends was God’s hand that allowed her to slowly put together the rock garden, which sits atop a microwave-oven stand. The rock garden features a small fountain with depictions of trees painted green that she says represent the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. To her, the artificial mound of stones and rock plants holds a very real sense of spirituality.

Bembry, who worked 17 years at General Motors Corp. in Lordstown, collected one rock from all 50 states, along with one from Japan, France, Belize, Africa, the West Indies, the Virgin Islands, Canada and other countries, continents and territories. Written on all of the rocks is their place of origin; also included is the name of the person or church from which each had come.

At one point, she needed one rock from 26 states, so Bembry conducted a little research online, and it wasn’t long before she found the help she needed.

“I typed in the states, and a whole bunch of churches popped up with their numbers and addresses. So I called them and I said, ‘I have an unusual request. I’d like you to send me a little rock,’” she said with laughter.

The rock garden’s deeper, underlying meaning is no laughing matter for Bembry, however. As she sees it, the perimeter of tiny stones that took her about nine hours to build surrounds more than a collection of rocks; It contains a tremendous amount of Biblical symbolism.

By her estimation, rocks are mentioned more than 103,000 times in the Bible. She cited several passages in which they were a core theme, including Daniel 2:31-34, which talks about King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a rock cut from a mountain – not by human hands – and Daniel’s interpretation of the dream.

“The rocks [in the rock garden] represent the foundation of the lands from which they came,” explained Bembry, a member of Boardman-based Kingdom Fellowship Ministries Church. “I pray that God intervenes in the lands from where they came and brings their people to him.”

A quick look at Bembry’s rock garden reveals what she thinks of as a carefully arranged spiritual haven. Nevertheless, it also has room for further additions.

Bembry said her next move likely will be to sew a purple silk cover by hand, add tassels at each corner and include small bookends so the cover doesn’t come in contact with the rock garden. She also may use a cross-stitch hem that she said would be “a symbol of the cross Jesus was on.”

After learning about the time, care and effort Bembry has put into her rock garden, it’s natural to admire the undertaking. In addition, the temptation may be great to compliment Bembry for taking it upon herself to do it.

But expect her to deflect at least some of the praise.

“It was the Lord’s idea,” she said. “It was his idea, not mine.”

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