Two monks lived together in the desert for most of 40 years. Every day, they would work together and pray together. For four decades they had grown in faith and holiness, tending to each other’s needs and living in peace and harmony.
One day one of the monks said to the other that in all their years together, they had never really experienced the ultimate test of friendship.
“What do you mean?” asked the second monk.
“We have never had a fight,” the first monk said, “so we have never had to forgive each other.”
“You know, you’re right,” said the second monk. “But what can we do about it?”
“I think we need to have a fight,” the first monk said.
“Well, how can we do that?” asked the second monk.
“Look. Here’s a rock,” said the first monk. “I’ll say the rock is mine. You say the rock is yours. We can fight over the rock, and then we can forgive each other.”
“Okay,” said the second monk. “I suppose that will work. Go ahead – you start it off.”
The first monk stretched himself up to his full height, put his hands on his hips, and loudly declared: “This is MY rock.”
The second monk looked him right in the eyes and said, “well, if it’s your rock, go ahead and take it.”