Mark Dowdy was born blind. He only had light perception and a vague sense of shape to help him navigate the world around him. Music was his favorite thing from a young age. Throughout his life, he has had success with being an artist, musician, and producer, all while being blind. Then at age 37 came an answer to prayer. He had surgery that gave him a chance to see the world as never before. Mark discusses all of these experiences in his new book Blind Faith.
Blindness from birth
“For most of my life, my vision was like seeing through a frosted shower door or an icy windshield. I navigated my world mostly by feel and touch, learning to get around in my home environment and other familiar places that way. This seemed to come naturally to me. My biggest struggle was finding my way around in unfamiliar places,” says Mark.
School was a challenge for Mark, especially once he had to start taking notes.
“I found it harder to keep up in the classroom when I had to start taking notes. I was “mainstreamed” from the beginning and I learned braille by age five. Every school day I received resource help for one hour per day.”
Overcoming blindness with faith
To overcome his blindness, Mark relied on his faith. He believed that no matter what, God was with him. He talks about this in his book. At age 10, he accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior. Mark’s faith has been central to his life and has guided him through good and bad times.
“I have always had a positive, hopeful outlook, which I believe is a gift from God. I learned that whatever obstacle I faced there was always a solution.”
The most frustrating things for Mark both as a child and as an adult were his limited mobility and the challenges that presented to him. Another challenge for him was always depending on others to navigate unfamiliar places.
Thirteen failed eye surgeries by age ten
Mark had 13 failed eye surgeries by the time he was 10. When Mark was growing up, there was not a lot of emphasis on helping him understand what he was going through.
“There was not a lot of discussion about when the corneas would reject, or surgery would fail. I almost think this was better for me at the time, because we just went on with life that was always full of family and activities. My goal then and now, is to look forward to the next thing that life had in store.”
Focusing on music
Mark’s diminished vision allowed him to have more focus on music. His hearing was finely tuned from a young age.
“Music was a friend to me from the beginning and became a way to bridge the gap between my world and the sighted world. It was a way for me to ‘fit in’.”
Being a producer
Mark is a producer and loves working on albums with different artists. His favorite part of being a producer is seeing the finished product come to life. He enjoys building relationships while making albums. Hearing the final product is always the big payoff for him.
“I learned I had perfect pitch very early and I was able to pick out what notes were and tune guitars at age six. Sound was my world. So, I learned to rely on my ears in a way other people might not. I always felt I was probably a better musician and producer because of that.”
Being able to see
Mark thought he would be blind for the rest of his life. He had learned to navigate the world around him with amazing efficiency despite his blindness. Then at age 37, a miracle happened. He had surgery that allowed him to see the world around him for the first time.
One of the biggest challenges that he still faces is not being able to drive.
“Not being able to drive is probably the biggest challenge for me. This was something I was hoping for with the surgery. but my vision did not improve to the point of being able to drive.”
Being able to lead worship
In Blind Faith, Mark tells the story of how the surgery allowed him to get a new job as a worship leader. He was able to see the stage, walk up to it and start leading worship in a whole new way for the first time.
“There was an overwhelming sense of freedom at that moment. There was a new level of independence that most other people always know, but I had never known. It was like a door had been opened, full of new possibilities.”
Mark’s hope for those who read Blind Faith is that everyone will be challenged and uplifted by his story.
“I hope that everyone who reads it will know that whatever challenges they have, with God all things are possible.”
- Spreading the Gospel at Pagan Festivals Through Dream Interpretation - September 25, 2021
- Man Born Blind Becomes Worship Leader After Receiving the Gift of Sight - August 24, 2021
- How Dr. Hormoz Shariat Turned the Murder of His Brother Into a Mission - July 29, 2021