When news spread last week of another American tragedy, of more innocent lives lost after a gunman shot up churchgoers in Sutherland Springs, Texas, I felt dread. I felt despair. But more so than what I probably would have felt only a few years ago — I felt numb.

I’m tired of writing about tragic mass shootings where children are slaughtered or senseless terrorist attacks where people are mowed down ... and for what? I am exhausted from changing the channel on the news to shelter my children from the atrocities of the world, and from trying to come up with the best, honest answer that still maintains their loving innocence.

I’m exasperated at the number of times I’m embarrassed for our society — whether it’s from an ignorant tweet from an elected leader or from racism and hate that is seemingly boiling under the surface of our nation at every moment. I’m fatigued over the number of times that my own state has made national news for something backwards or just plain wrong.

I’m worried about the future — not necessarily my own, but the future of my children, my future grandchildren and their children.

I’m an optimist and an idealist. I believe in the good in people and the idea that good will prevail. But during times like this, when children are murdered while going to church, when bike riders lose their lives while vacationing in New York City, when 58 people are killed and 546 others are injured by a lone gunman during a Las Vegas concert — I start to lose hope.

And as a person who is entrenched in a life I love, in a land I love, losing hope isn’t much of an option.

After the riots in Charlottesville in August, comedian and University of Virginia alumna Tina Fey appeared on “Saturday Night Live” in a skit where she crammed sheet cake in her mouth as an act of eating her feelings.

“A lot of us are feeling anxious and are asking ourselves, ‘What can I do? I’m just one person,’ so I would urge people this Saturday, instead of participating in the screaming matches and potential violence, find a local business to support — maybe a Jewish-run bakery or an African-American-run bakery — order a cake with the American flag on it, and just eat it,” Fey said during the skit.

It was a sentiment that I think a lot of people — myself included — could relate to, whether it was a joke or not. But rather than eating away my anxiety, rather than giving in to the numbness, rather than letting atrocities like the recent mass shootings get the better of me, I’m not giving up — all hope is not lost.

If you start to feel hopeless, volunteer at your church and in your community, because making a difference for others can make a difference for you, too. Mentor at-risk youth, because you never know what kind of impact you may have. Reach out to international students or immigrants in your area, because you could form a lasting friendship while helping someone else feel at home in a foreign country. If you see someone in need, stop and help.

When someone’s political or religious beliefs may differ from your own, rather than shutting them down or shutting them out, invite them for coffee. Ask them about their views, share yours and find some common ground. Because I promise, it does exist.

And when it comes to our elected leaders, don’t stick your head in the sand and ignore what’s going on, as it can be easy to do. Instead, get involved. Write letters, make calls. If an election is coming up, educate yourself on the issues. Stick a campaign sign in your yard or bumper sticker on your car. Get behind a candidate, and most importantly — vote.

I’m not giving up hope, because for my kids’ sake, I can’t. I believe in my country and in my state and there is too much work to be done. There’s no time for cake.